sb10065848co-001A study that analyzed almost 300,000 births in southern Australia came to some very disturbing conclusions about assisted conception; “the risk of serious complications such as stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight and neonatal death is around twice as high for babies conceived by assisted reproductive therapies compared with naturally conceived babies.”

“Compared with spontaneous conceptions in couples with no record of infertility, singleton babies from assisted conception were almost twice as likely to be stillborn, more than twice as likely to be preterm, almost three times as likely to have very low birth weight, and twice as likely to die within the first 28 days of birth,” the study leader, Professor Michael Davies from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute, said.

This is truly disturbing, for so many reasons. Often times, a couple has already been through so much to even get an assisted pregnancy to stick – the thought that there is just a new host of worries to be concerned with once a pregnancy finally does progress is pretty heartbreaking.

I had a friend going through IVF last year. She was going through her treatments right after I had given birth to my second child, at age 40. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl – but only after a very stressful pregnancy. I don’t know if I was an exception to a rule, but I was made to feel like a damn dinosaur during that pregnancy. All the genetic testing they recommended, the extra ultrasounds, the amniotic fluid level checks – I was terrified. I tried not to let it ruin my pregnancy, but honestly I didn’t enjoy it at all. I was constantly worried.

My friend receiving the IVF treatments was also in her 40′s. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that if she got it to stick – she would still have a probably very stressful pregnancy ahead of her if her experience was at all like mine. The results of this study add a whole new level of anxiety to an already really stressful situation.

I would like to advise women to take studies like these with a grain of salt – but having been through an “advanced maternal age” pregnancy – I know that advice is impossible to follow. I know they are completely different situations, but I am comparing them because in both, you have people telling you that you are not as likely to have a healthy baby. That is the worst thing a pregnant woman can hear.

(photo: Getty Images)