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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Aug;298(2):329-336. doi: 10.1007/s00404-018-4795-4. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Foetal thymus size in pregnancies after assisted reproductive technologies.

Author information

1
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48149, Münster, Germany. nauteresa@googlemail.com.
2
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48149, Münster, Germany.
3
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
4
Department of Fetal Cardiology, Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia, Georgstraße 11, 32545, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.
5
Institute of Biostatistics and Clinical Research, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of our study was to compare thymus sizes in foetuses conceived using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to those conceived naturally (control group).

METHODS:

Sonographic foetal thymus size was assessed retrospectively in 162 pregnancies conceived using ART and in 774 pregnancies conceived naturally. The anteroposterior thymic and the intrathoracic mediastinal diameter were measured to calculate the thymic-thoracic ratio (TT-ratio). The ART cases were subdivided into two groups: (1) intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI; n = 109) and (2) in vitro fertilisation (IVF; n = 53).

RESULTS:

The TT-ratio was smaller in pregnancies conceived using ART (p < 0.001). In both ART subgroups (ICSI and IVF), the TT-ratio was lower compared to the control group (p < 0.001). However, no difference between the two subgroups could be detected (p = 0.203).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data show reduced thymus size in foetuses conceived using ART compared to controls. These findings indicate that the use of ART may lead to certain deviations in organogenesis.

KEYWORDS:

Foetal diagnosis; In vitro fertilisation; Intracytoplasmic sperm injection; Pregnancy; Prenatal ultrasonography; Thymus; Ultrasound

PMID:
29926171
DOI:
10.1007/s00404-018-4795-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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