Fetal safety of medications used in treating infertility

Gideon Koren, Yael Barer, Yusuf Cem Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: The medications used in assisted reproduction are given before and during early pregnancy, and hence, they may potentially result in adverse fetal effects. In this review we present an updated account of their fetal safety and discuss methodological challenges in interpretation of existing data. Areas covered: The fetal safety/risks of clomiphene citrate, aromatase inhibitors, metformin, gonadotropins and progestins are discussed. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane, Google, and Google Scholar from inception to 30 April 2020 for publications pertinent to our topic. Expert opinion: There are several major challenges in studying fetal safety of medications used in assisted reproduction. The fact is that the rates of congenital malformations among infertile women giving birth spontaneously is higher than the rates among healthy women conceiving spontaneously. In most clinical studies of assisted reproduction, the primary endpoint is the success in inducing pregnancy, neglecting to report pregnancy outcome and adverse neonatal event. As an example for this reality, it has been estimated that between 1977 and 2005 around 10 million pregnancies were treated with dydrogesterone (DYD), yet till 2019 only very few studies, with a total sample size of less than 600 were reported with regards to fetal safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-1000
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Infertility
  • aromatase inhibitors
  • clomiphene citrate
  • congenital malformations
  • fetal safety
  • letrozole
  • metformin
  • pregnancy
  • progesterone, dydrogesterone
  • subfertility


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