Live birth is not the only relevant outcome in research assessing assisted reproductive technology

Zheng Wang, Astrid E.P. Cantineau, Annemieke Hoek, Rik van Eekelen, Ben W. Mol, Rui Wang* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In assisted reproductive technology (ART) research, live birth has been generally accepted as an important outcome, if not the most important one. However, it has been reported inconsistently in the literature and solely focusing on live birth can lead to misinterpretation of research findings. In this review, we provide an overview on the definitions of live birth, including various denominators and numerators use. We present a series of real clinical examples in ART research to demonstrate the impact of variations in live birth on research findings and the importance of other outcomes, including multiple pregnancy, pregnancy loss, time to pregnancy leading to live birth, other short and long term maternal and offspring health outcomes and cost effectiveness measures. We suggest that outcome choices in ART research should be tailored for the research questions. A holistic outcome assessment beyond live birth would provide a full picture to address research questions in ART in terms of effectiveness and safety, and thus facilitate evidence-based decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102306
Number of pages11
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Early online date2 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (GNT1176437 to BWM and GNT2009767 to RW).


  • Assisted reproductive technology
  • Infertility
  • Live birth
  • Outcomes
  • Pregnancy loss


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