Research question: What are the perinatal outcomes and especially the risk of small for gestational age (SGA) babies born after frozen versus fresh embryo transfer in mothers affected by endometriosis undergoing treatment with assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
Design: A cohort study conducted between November 2012 and October 2017, in which infertile women with endometriosis undergoing ART and achieving singleton pregnancies that lasted beyond 12 weeks of gestation were included. Pregnancies obtained after a frozen embryo transfer (FET) were compared with those obtained after a fresh embryo transfer. A total of 339 pregnant women were included: 112 patients in the fresh embryo transfer group and 227 in the FET group. The main outcome was the rate of SGA. Secondary analyses were performed for adverse pregnancy outcomes and perinatal complications.
Results: Of the included women, 109/112 (97.3%) and 222/227 (97.8%) delivered a live child after at least 24 weeks of gestation in the fresh and in the frozen embryo transfer groups, respectively (P = 0.53). The risk of SGA decreased after a FET compared with a fresh embryo transfer (odds ratio [OR] 0.49 [0.25-0.98], P = 0.04) after multivariable analysis. The mean birthweight and the gestational age at delivery were not significantly different between the two study groups. Other pregnancy and perinatal complications were not statistically different between the two study populations.
Conclusions: The present study of endometriosis-affected women found a significantly lower risk of SGA in patients undergoing frozen, mainly blastocyst, embryo transfer compared with patients undergoing fresh, mainly cleavage stage, embryo transfer.