In a nutshell
This study assessed the heart function of children born to mothers who had experienced ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which is a complication of assisted reproduction procedures. The authors found that children born to women who had experienced OHSS had poorer heart function compared to other children.
Couples dealing with infertility often turn to assisted reproduction methods such as in vitro fertilization (IVF; a fertility treatment where an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body and then implanted into the woman’s uterus). An important step in IVF is stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs. Sometimes this stimulation can lead to OHSS, which occurs in early pregnancy. OHSS can lead to swollen, painful ovaries and fluid in the abdomen. It can also cause an increase in hormone levels (estradiol and progesterone). OHSS is thought to occur in up to 6% of pregnancies using assisted reproduction methods.
High blood pressure and other heart issues have been seen in children born through assisted reproduction methods. Whether children born to OHSS women have changes to their heart function is unclear.
Methods & findings
This study included 42 children born to women who had experienced OHSS during IVF, 34 children born to women who had IVF but no OHSS, and 48 children who were conceived naturally. The children examined were four and a half years old, on average. The children from all of the groups had similar heights and weights.
Children of OHSS mothers showed reduced heart function compared to children from the other groups. The reductions were seen, for example, in the ability of the blood vessels and arteries to dilate (open). Children of OHSS mothers also had genetic alterations changes to their genes. These changes were associated with high levels of progesterone and estrodial.
The bottom line
The study concluded that OHSS is associated with changes to heart function in children. The extremely high levels of the hormones estradiol and progesterone during OHSS were implicated.
The fine print
The long term effects on heart function are not known.
Published By :
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Sep 30, 2014