Cell-free fetal DNA levels in pregnancies conceived by IVF

Phillip D. Pan, Inga Peter, Geralyn M. Lambert-Messerlian, Jacob A. Canick, Diana W. Bianchi, Kirby L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Increased second-trimester levels of maternal serum HCG in IVF conceptions lead to an increased false-positive rate in Down syndrome screening. Increased levels of cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) in maternal plasma have been correlated with increased HCG levels. Our aim was to determine whether cffDNA levels are elevated in IVF pregnancies compared with natural pregnancies. Methods: Sixteen archived second-trimester serum samples from IVF pregnancies were matched with five control samples from naturally conceived pregnancies per case, all carrying a singleton male fetus. cffDNA concentrations were measured by real-time PCR amplification of a Y chromosome sequence and compared with four standard second trimester serum screening markers (α-fetoprotein, estriol, HCG and inhibin A). Results: Mean cffDNA levels for cases and controls were 57.9 and 57.1 genome equivalents/ml, respectively (P = 0.95). Mean observed rank (from 1 to 6) of cffDNA was 3.625 in the IVF conceived group, compared with an expected value of 3.5 (P = 0.53). No significant correlations were observed between cffDNA and serum markers. Conclusions: IVF does not affect levels of cffDNA, which appears to be independent of traditional screening markers (e.g. HCG). Therefore, cffDNA can be used as an additional serum marker (e.g. Down syndrome screening) without adjustment for IVF pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3152-3156
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • IVF
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Serum screening markers


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