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Assisted Reproductive Techniques and Pregnancy

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that about 6.1 million American women and their partners are infertile—that's 10 percent of the reproductive age population! If you or your partner are a member of this group and are now reading this because you are pregnant, congratulations! No doubt you have been through the ringer of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that only those who have been there can truly understand.

Perhaps you've used fertility drugs, artificial insemination, or in vitro fertilization. Perhaps you've used frozen embryos, donor sperm or eggs, testicular sperm aspiration, transuterine fallopian transfer, tubal embryo transfer, gamete intrafallopian transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, or any of the other possible infertility treatments. By whatever method, here you are pregnant and most likely wavering between euphoria and terror. Because you have been riding the emotional roller coaster of high hopes and disappointments for so long, it's understandable that you want to guard the health of your fetus to assure a full-term pregnancy without complications. Well, here are the facts on your risk of miscarriage:

After the fertilized egg (or eggs!) implants itself securely in the lining of your uterus your chances of a full-term pregnancy are just as good as any other expectant mom. But because of all you've been through to become pregnant and because of the risk of multiples, you should consider calling in a perinatologist to monitor your pregnancy. As noted previously, this is a medical doctor who specializes in the complications of high-risk pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

When you finally deliver your baby, you'll be glad to hear that he or she will not face any more health problems than babies conceived by natural means. That's the good news out of the 2003 Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. A study presented at that meeting reported no major differences in birth weight, growth, total IQ, motor development, behavior problems, or prenatal stress were found between the children conceived with infertility treatments and those conceived naturally. So relax!

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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