Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research

Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-038X

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Exclusive Breastfeeding and Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Calgary Cohort

Candace O’ Quinn, Amy Metcalfe, Sheila W McDonald, Nikolett Raguz and Suzanne C Tough

Objectives: To determine if there is a difference in exclusive breastfeeding rates between mothers who conceived spontaneously compared with those who conceived using Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART).

Study methods: A prospective cohort study (“All Our Babies”) of pregnant women was conducted in Calgary, Alberta, Canada from May 2008-May 2010. Participants completed three written questionnaires, two during pregnancy and one at four months postpartum. Data for this analysis included all participants who used ART to conceive the pregnancy, and a 2:1 random selection of women who conceived spontaneously. ART included use of fertility enhancing drugs and/or artificial insemination and/or in vitro fertilization +/- intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the population. Chi square tests, Fisher exact tests and t-tests were used to assess differences between groups.

Results: Seventy-six participants (5.9%) used some form of ART to conceive. Mothers in the group who used ART to conceive were older than the group who conceived spontaneously (p=0.001). At four months post-partum 54.1% of infants who were conceived via ART were exclusively breastfed compared to 59.7% of infants who were spontaneously conceived (p=0.99). No significant differences in terms of breastfeeding initiation (p=0.60), breastfeeding at 4 months postpartum (p=0.20) or breastfeeding difficulties (p=0.65) were found between women who conceived spontaneously and women who conceived through ART.

Conclusion: This study suggests that mothers who conceive using ART do not differ from those who conceived spontaneously in breastfeeding initiation, duration or likelihood of difficulty. This suggests that specialized counseling for these mothers is not required in regards to breastfeeding and these mothers can be reassured that using ART to conceive will not impact their breastfeeding practices.