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World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jun 21;20(23):7123-36. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i23.7123.

Inflammatory bowel diseases and human reproduction: a comprehensive evidence-based review.

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Stefano Palomba, Angela Falbo, Giovanni Battista La Sala, Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics, Azienda Ospedaliera ASMN, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy.


To evaluate the effects of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) on human reproduction, we reviewed the current literature using a systematic search for published studies (articles and/or abstracts) without limits for English language. We searched on Medline (through PubMed), the Institute for Scientific Information, the Web of Science and the websites for the registration of controlled trials ( Bibliographies of retrieved articles, books, expert opinion review articles and reviewed bibliographies from subject experts were manually searched. Titles and abstracts were screened initially, and potential relevant articles were identified and reviewed. Whenever possible, data were analyzed by comparing IBD patients vs healthy controls, and patients with active IBDs vs those with disease in remission. The effects of IBDs on female fertility, fertility in infertile couples, pregnancy and male infertility were examined separately. Patients with IBDs in remission have normal fertility. At the moment, there is no established guideline for the preservation of fertility in women with IBD undergoing surgery. Further data are needed regarding guidelines for the management of these patients. Data regarding IBDs and infertility are currently completely lacking. Considering the prevalence of intestinal pathology in young adults of childbearing age, this field is of great scientific and clinical interest, opening up important future perspectives. Another important and as yet unexplored point is the response to treatments for infertility in patients with IBDs. In particular, the question is whether the reproductive outcomes (clinical and biological) can be influenced by the IBD of one of the partners. The goals for successful reproductive outcomes in IBD population are correct counseling and disease remission. IBDs significantly affect several reproductive aspects of human (female, male, couple) reproduction. Further data are needed to develop guidelines for the clinical management of subjects of reproductive age with IBDs.


Fertility; Infertility; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Pregnancy

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