Egg quality may not be the biggest battle when it comes to having a healthy IVF pregnancy, according to new research
The importance of the baby's in vitro environment shouldn't be underestimated
Having a healthy uterus may be more important than the quality of your eggs, when it comes to having a healthy baby by IVF.
Researchers in the US have studied the outcomes of around 70,000 IVF pregnancies and looked at the differences in those achieved using different combinations of women’s own eggs, donor eggs and surrogate mums.
The research found that women who used donor eggs to get pregnant, but carried the baby themselves, were more likely to give birth to smaller babies than those who used a surrogate mum. Babies born using either kind of eggs, implanted into a surrogate mum’s uterus, tended to have a higher birth weight and were less likely to be born early.
“It’s not that egg quality is irrelevant – far from it,” explained the report in Time magazine. “Whether or not a woman can get pregnant in the first place is very much linked to the quality of her eggs. But once a pregnancy is established, the focus shifts to obstetrical outcomes.”
The study also suggested that the uterus could be more affected by the egg-harvesting process than previously thought. Women whose eggs were immediately implanted after harvesting had smaller babies and were more at risk of premature birth. Those whose eggs were frozen and used some time later tended to have better outcomes.
Researchers have admitted they don’t fully understand what goes on in a woman’s uterus as her baby grows. More research is planned.
Are you considering IVF? Find out your options for assisted fertility and what you can do to get your body healthy for pregnancy.