What do I need to know about pregnancies obtained using assisted reproduction techniques?

What differences are there compared to a natural pregnancy?

There are no differences in the process of development of the embryo once the transfer has been carried out, nor later in the development of the baby. The pregnancy develops in the same way as a natural pregnancy.

The start date of the pregnancy is calculated by subtracting 14 days from the date of insemination, follicular punction or the date of the punction of the donor in the case of oocyte (egg) recipients.

The weeks of development of the embryo correspond to those of a natural pregnancy. There is no delay or acceleration of the growth of the baby related to assisted reproduction techniques.

Is there a higher risk of miscarriage or deformities than in a natural pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, you often have symptoms which are new or uncomfortable, like, for example feeling sick or experiencing indigestion. In general, these are passing discomforts and there’s no cause for alarm.

However, some symptoms can indicate a more important problem and, in this case it is best to go to your doctor or hospital immediately. For example: severe pain at the beginning of a pregnancy.

The risk of miscarriage is the same (15-20%) as with a natural pregnancy and increases according to the age of the patients undergoing IVF or insemination. For patients receiving an oocyte donation, the risks do not increase as the donation comes from a donor aged between 18 and 35.

Over 40, a pregnant woman, either by natural means or by Assisted Reproduction Techniques, has a higher risk of developing pregnancy hypertension, gestational diabetes… Therefore, these pregnancies must be carefully monitored.

It has been scientifically demonstrated that children born from Assisted Reproduction Techniques do not have a higher risk of genetic alterations or deformities than those children born from a natural pregnancy.

Do I have to have an amniocentesis test?

A pregnancy resulting from Assisted Reproduction Techniques does not exclude the need for all the usual tests for diagnosing anomalies in the foetus. Initially, amniocentesis will only be carried out when the result of the triple test (triple screening) produces altered values. The triple-test consists of a blood test (biochemical screening) and an ultrasound which includes measuring the nuchal translucency of the foetus.

Care must be taken with women pregnant with twins because the blood analysis is not reliable and, in this case, only the ultrasound will help the gynaecologist to establish the risk.

In the case of recipients, the triple test should be carried out using the age of the donor (and not that of the recipient) and therefore, the need for an amniocentesis test will be low.

You must always follow your Gynaecologist’s advice of and refer to the law in your country. The triple test and the amniocentesis test are not usually compulsory.