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Daylight savings can increase IVF miscarriages

According to new research out of Boston Medical Center (BMC) and IVF New England, daylight savings time (DST) contributes to higher miscarriage rates among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) — but only in those who also had a prior pregnancy loss.


Daylight savings time represents a subtle but widespread disruption to daily circadian rhythms. The one-hour difference has been previously reported to cause negative health impacts, such as an increase in heart attacks, but little is known about its impact on fertility.

The findings, published online in the journal Chronobiology International, may shed light on the impact of circadian rhythm changes on reproduction and fertility.


"To our knowledge, there are no other studies looking at the effects of daylight savings time and fertility outcomes. "

Constance Liu MD PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Medical College, Massachusetts, USA, and corresponding author.


Researchers looked at the pregnancy and miscarriage rates among a sample of patients undergoing IVF prior to and during daylight savings time, in both the fall and spring. The patients were then categorized into three groups based on the timing of their embryo transfer during daylight savings time.

An embryo transfer refers to a step in the IVF process in which an embryo is placed into the uterus of a female with the intent of establishing a pregnancy.


The study found that miscarriage rates in IVF patients with a prior miscarriage were significantly higher among women whose embryo transfers occurred 21 days after spring DST began, compared to patients whose embryo transfers occurred before or well outside the spring DST window.

Successful pregnancy rates did not differ between seasons or among the three groups during change to fall standard time.


"While our findings on the impact of DST on pregnancy loss among IVF pregnancies are intriguing, they need to be replicated in larger IVF cohorts in different parts of the world that observe DST," adds Wendy Kuohung MD, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at BMC and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine, senior author of the paper.

Abstract
Transition into daylight savings time (DST) has studied negative impacts on health, but little is known regarding impact on fertility. This retrospective cohort study evaluates DST impact on pregnancy and pregnancy loss rates in 1,654 autologous in vitro fertilization cycles (2009 to 2012). Study groups were identified based on the relationship of DST to embryo transfer. Pregnancy rates were similar in Spring and Fall (41.4%, 42.2%). Pregnancy loss rates were also comparable between Spring and Fall (15.5%, 17.1%), but rates of loss were significantly higher in Spring when DST occurred after embryo transfer (24.3%). Loss was marked in patients with a history of prior spontaneous pregnancy loss (60.5%).

KEYWORDS: Daylight savings time, IVF, spontaneous pregnancy loss

About Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 496-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $119 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2015. It is the 11th largest recipient of funding in the U.S. from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization. It does business in Massachusetts as BMC HealthNet Plan and as Well Sense Health Plan in New Hampshire, serving more than 315,000 people, collectively.


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Mar 2, 2017   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline   News   News Archive   

In Vitro Vertilization (IVF), can imply that sperm is inserted within the zona pelucida, surrounding
a single egg, in this image being held in place by a pipette in the right hand corner of the picture.
Image Credit: University of California San Francisco


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