Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Researchers at Boston University Medical Center, or BMC, and IVF New England have found a link between higher miscarriage rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and daylight savings time.
The study found that miscarriage rates in women who had a prior pregnancy loss and underwent IVF were higher prior to or during daylight savings time.
Previous studies have shown that DST creates a disruption to daily circadian rhythms and the one-hour time difference has been known to cause negative health impacts like increased incidence of heart attack.
"To our knowledge, there are no other studies looking at the effects of daylight savings time and fertility outcomes," Dr. Constance Liu, Ph.D., in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital and corresponding author of the study, said in a press release. "We knew that we were researching an uncharted field, and it was important for us to understand the effect a one-hour change had on patients undergoing IVF."
Researchers examined the pregnancy and miscarriage rates among 1,654 patients undergoing IVF during daylight savings time between 2009 and 2012, and found that miscarriage rates in IVF patients who had a prior miscarriage and underwent IVF 21 days after spring DST began were significantly higher than women with prior miscarriages who underwent IVF before or well beyond the spring DST time period.
Rates of miscarriage were 24.3 percent in spring when DST occurred after IVF and 60.5 percent in patients who had a previous history of miscarriage.
"While our findings on the impact of DST on pregnancy loss among IVF pregnancies are intriguing, they need to be replicated in larger IVF cohorts in different parts of the world that observe DST," Dr. Wendy Kuohung, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at BMC, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine and senior author of the study, said in a press release.
The study was published in Chronobiology International.