Bioethics News

In vitro fertilization risks : medical complications in heart problems women

Risks have been evaluated for the first time

In vitro fertilization risks (IVF) are the medical complications that can be associated with it. In this respect, women with heart disease are known to have an increased risk of suffering medical complications compared to healthy women (Circulation 2001: 104; 515-21/Eur Heart J 2010; 31, 2124-32). But does this risk increase when women with heart problems undergo IVF?

A recently published article (JACC 2014; 64,1862-6) evaluated this risk for the first time, confirming that it really exists. The study included 20 women, mean age 37 ± 4 years, with 22 pregnancies. Fifteen pregnancies (68%) occurred in women with congenital heart problems and 7 (32%) in women with acquired heart disease.

At least one complication was detected in 73% of the pregnancies. Eighteen percent of the heart patients suffered ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, compared to 1% of the healthy women. Adverse cardiac maternal outcomes were detected in 27% of the cardiac patients, compared to 13% in pregnant women with heart disease not conceiving with assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Foetal or neonatal problems were detected 45% of the cardiac patients compared to 20% of pregnant women with heart disease not conceiving with ART. Foetal prematurity was also higher in the heart patients (32%) than in a reference ART population (13%). As the authors state, ovarian hormonal hyperstimulation is a “potentially serious complication of ART“, which is more dangerous in heart patients, in which moderate forms of ovarian hyperstimulation can be poorly tolerated.

From an ethical point of view (said eh authors), it seems clear that the poor response to ART in women with heart disease must be considered.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.