Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Hum Reprod. 2001 Dec;16(12):2606-9.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome and the risk of spontaneous abortion following assisted reproductive technology treatment.

Author information

  • 1Reproductive Medicine Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, SA 5011, Australia.



A high proportion of infertile patients have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with a reportedly greater risk of spontaneous abortion. Because of the close link between PCOS and obesity and the independent association of obesity with poor pregnancy outcomes, it is important to distinguish the possible confounding effect of body mass index (BMI) or other variables from that of PCOS. This study aims to determine the effect of PCOS status on the risk of spontaneous abortion with adjustment for body mass and several other confounding factors in a large cohort of pregnant infertile women.


The patients (n = 1018) were treated in a tertiary infertility centre. Their PCOS status was determined by standard criteria and their BMI had been taken less than 1 year before the pregnancy. Patients whose PCOS status or BMI measurements were not assessed were excluded. Student's t-test or chi2 test were used to test the difference between the PCOS and non-PCOS groups while a multivariate logistical regression model was used to assess the effect of PCOS, BMI and other confounding factors.


Overall, the incidence of PCOS was 37% in this cohort. The overall incidence of spontaneous abortion in the study population was 21%. Univariate analysis showed that women with PCOS had a significantly greater risk of spontaneous abortion compared with non-PCOS women (25 versus 18%, P < 0.01). However, using multivariate logistic regression analysis this effect was reduced to a non-significant level [odds ratio (OR) = 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.85-1.36] after adjusting for obesity and patients/treatment combination factor, and to nil after adjusting for all confounding factors considered in this study (OR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.75-1.28).


The results of this study suggest that the higher risk of spontaneous abortion observed in women with PCOS is likely to be due to their high prevalence of obesity and the type of treatment they receive.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk