Mortality in women treated with assisted reproductive technology treatment: addressing the healthy patient effect

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Previous studies have reported reduced mortality among women undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment, possibly related to selection of healthy women into ART treatment. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of relevant selection factors on the association between ART treatment and mortality and explore effect modification by parity. Women treated with ART in fertility clinics in Denmark during 1994-2009 (n = 42,897) were age-matched with untreated women from the background population (n = 204,514) and followed until ultimo 2010. With adjustment for relevant confounders, the risk of death was lower among ART-treated women immediately after ART treatment (HR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.63, 0.74), but there was no apparent difference after 10 years (HR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.79, 1.07). Having children prior to ART treatment was associated with a markedly reduced mortality (HR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.38, 0.53), possibly due to better health among fertile women. While the frequency of previous medical and psychiatric diagnoses among ART-treated and untreated women was similar, differences in disease severity could explain the reduced mortality among ART-treated women, as poor prognosis would make ART treatment initiation unlikely. The survival advantage among ART-treated women is likely a selection rather than a biological phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1889-1895
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 199757484