Predictive value of pregnancy history in subfertile couples: results from a nationwide cohort study in the Netherlands

Jan W. van der Steeg*, Pieternel Steures, Marinus J.C. Eijkemans, J. Dik F. Habbema, Peter G.A. Hompes, Henri W.B. Michgelsen, Pieter F.M. van der Heijden, Patrick M.M. Bossuyt, Fulco van der Veen, Ben W.J. Mol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess whether pregnancy history can predict the occurrence of a spontaneous ongoing pregnancy in subfertile couples. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Thirty fertility centers in the Netherlands. Patient(s): Subfertile, ovulatory women with at least one patent tube and male partners without severely impaired semen quality. Intervention(s): Fertility work-up, including a detailed pregnancy history. Main Outcome Measure(s): Spontaneous ongoing pregnancy. Result(s): We included 4445 couples, of whom 793 (18%) had a spontaneous ongoing pregnancy within 1 year of follow-up. Previous live birth and miscarriage in current partnership were both associated with higher fecundity as compared with primary infertility (hazard rate ratios for spontaneous pregnancy [HR] 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2-1.7 and 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0-1.5, respectively). Pregnancies in a woman's previous partnerships did not affect the fecundity of the couple. A pregnancy in a previous partnership of the male partner was associated with lower fecundity (HR 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-0.99). A previous pregnancy after fertility treatment also was associated with lower fecundity (HR 0.52; 95% CI, 0.30-0.90). Conclusion(s): Accurate prediction of the future fertility of a couple requires an exact assessment of the fertility history of both partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • Fertility history
  • prognosis
  • prospective cohort
  • secondary subfertility
  • spontaneous pregnancy


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