HealthDay News — Assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures performed in the United States from 2000 to 2011 are associated with a low risk complications, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“In an effort to improve patient safety, stimulation protocols have become less aggressive, oocyte retrieval has transitioned from laparoscopic to transvaginal, and pregnancy rates have improved,” wrote Jennifer Kawwass, MD, of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues.

To review the incidence and trends in reported patient and donor complications in fresh ART cycles, the investigators used data based on a surveillance system established by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reported complications had to be directly related to ART and take place within 12 weeks of the procedure. Possible problems included infection, bleeding, complications related to anesthesia, hospitalization, and death.

The risk of complications was low for both autologous and donor-assisted procedures. Among 1,135,206 autologous ART cycles, the most commonly reported patient complications were ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and hospitalization.

All other complications remained below 10 per 10,000 cycles, noted the researchers. The study authors said they identified 58 deaths associated with ART during the study period. Of these, 18 deaths were related to ovarian stimulation and 40 others occurred before delivery. Overall, the death rates for women who had an ART-conceived live birth ranged from 14.2 per 100,000 in 2004 to 1.6 per 100,000 in 2008.

“Increased awareness of the most common complication, OHSS, may prompt additional study to characterize predictors of this and other adverse events to inform the development of effective approaches necessary to decrease complication occurrence,” wrote the study authors.


  1. Kawwass JF et al. JAMA. 2015; doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.14488