Daylight savings time may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage among some women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), a new study suggests.
Boston Medical Center (BMC) researchers found that miscarriage rates in IVF patients who had a prior miscarriage were much higher among those who received an embryo 21 days after the spring time change than those whose embryo transfers were conducted before or nowhere near the time change.
The study did not prove that daylight savings time causes IVF success rates to drop. And there was no link found between miscarriage rates and the fall time change or even the different seasons of the year.
The study may improve understanding of how circadian rhythm changes affect fertility and reproduction, according to the researchers.
“To our knowledge, there are no other studies looking at the effects of daylight savings time and fertility outcomes,” corresponding author Dr. Constance Liu, a physician in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a BMC news 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,” said Liu, who took part in the study during her residency at BMC.
“While our findings on the impact of [daylight savings time] 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 [daylight savings time],” said senior study author Dr. Wendy Kuohung, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at BMC.
The study was published recently in the journal Chronobiology International.
Daylight savings time this year begins on March 12.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on IVF.