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Uterus May Be More Important than Egg Quality for Healthy Babies

Time,  Feb 21, 2010
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The health of a woman's uterus seems to trump the quality of her eggs when it comes to a baby conceived via fertility treatment being born full-term and at a normal weight.

Previously, research has compared the birth weight babies born via in vitro fertilization (IVF) to that of infants conceived naturally. Babies born as a result of IVF reportedly arrived earlier and weighed less. Researchers figured this was related to the way the babies were conceived.

But recent research in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that women who used donor eggs and their own uterus had smaller babies, while an infertile woman's embryo implanted in a surrogate resulted in babies with higher birth weights.

Some of the reasons women are infertile — premature ovarian failure, for example, or endometriosis — appear to be affecting the ability of the uterus to provide the most nurturing environment for a pregnancy.

We don't understand a lot about what's going on in the uterus,” says William Gibbons, lead author and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “But this was further evidence that something is going on with the uterus because if you used someone else's uterus, these babies weighed more.”

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