By Reuters Staff

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who want to have a baby after tubal sterilization and undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) are likely to be as successful as their subfertile peers who have IVF, according to a study from Australia.

In a paper online now in Contraception, the researchers say there is a "paucity of studies evaluating IVF success in women with previous tubal sterilization. Although IVF studies often include sterilized women in their overall sample, they do not separately report IVF success on this subgroup. Women who wish to have a baby after sterilization have a choice between reversal and IVF treatment; however, there are few data on the likelihood of live delivery from these two options to inform them."

To investigate, Dr. Eva Malacova of the University of Western Australia in Crawley and colleagues took a look back at first live births from IVF in women with a history of tubal sterilization.

The women were 20 to 44 years old at first embryo transfer (ET). The analysis focused on 178 ET cycles performed between 1996 and 2010 in Western Australia.

Within the first 24 months, the overall cumulative live-delivery rate in women with previous tubal sterilization was 31%, on par with the 34% rate in subfertile women, the researchers report.

"Sterilized women were thus no more likely to deliver a live baby than were subfertile controls, contrary to what might be expected given that sterilized women were by default 'fertile,'" the authors note.

"This is consistent with previous research which looked at different outcomes and reported a nonsignificant difference in the ongoing pregnancy rate between sterilized (after unsuccessful reversal) women and subfertile controls under the age of 38 years or in the clinical pregnancy rate between sterilized and subfertile women even when matched by age," they say.

Sterilized women aged 20 to 34 years old were slightly more likely to deliver an IVF baby than their peers aged 35 to 39 years old and 40 to 44 years old, although the difference failed to reach statistical significance. The rates were 34%, 33% and 22%, respectively.

The researchers say the main limitation of the study is not being able to quantify the total number of ET cycles the women had. A key strength is being able to capture all previously sterilized women in Western Australia (population > 2.3 million) with a hospital record for an ET cycle over a 14-year period.

The study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The authors have not listed any disclosures. Dr. Malacova did not respond to request for comment by press time.


Contraception 2015.