Infant deaths link to fertility

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The Independent Online
WOMEN WITH a history of infertility, whether they have been treated or not, are more at risk of having babies that die within a week of being born, new research has found

A study by Leicester University of 1,514 women found that those who had been infertile at some point in their lives were nearly three times more likely than average to have babies who were stillborn or who died within seven days.

Previous research has shown that women who receive infertility treatment are more at risk of multiple births, premature and low weight babies with associated health risks. However, the latest findings indicate for the first time that it could be the underlying disorder of infertility that causes the complications rather than the treatments.

The research published in the The Lancet, involved 972 mothers whose babies survived and 542 women whose babies had died. Infertility was defined as any mention in medical records of delayed conception or investigation or treatment for delayed conception. The study found that the risk of perinatal death for women with a history of infertility who had not had treatment was 27 in 1,000. This compared with 23 in 1,000 for those had treatment and 9 in 1,000 for the normal population.

Dr Elizabeth Draper, from the department of epidemiology and public health department, at Leicester University, said the deaths of babies of women who were not treated occurred mostly in single baby births and over half were associated with a premature birth. "This finding supports the idea that these women had poor reproductive function. They had difficulty conceiving and having conceived they had difficulty in carrying the pregnancy to full term and were at increased risk of an adverse outcome," she said.

Tim Hedgely, chairman of Issue, the infertility support network, said that the report was of concern.

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