Outcomes of Pregnancy in Recipients of Liver Transplants

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jun;17(7):1398-1404.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.11.055. Epub 2018 Dec 6.


Background & aims: Despite increasing reports of pregnancy in women who received liver transplants, it is not clear how transplantation and immunosuppression affect pregnancy. We collected data from liver transplant recipients who became pregnant on immunosuppression regimens, pregnancy management, graft morbidity, and outcomes of mothers and neonates.

Methods: We searched the liver transplant database in Birmingham, United Kingdom, for women who reported pregnancy after liver transplantation from August 1986 through May 2016. We collected information on morbidities and outcomes of 139 pregnancies in 83 women (median age at conception, 27 y; range, 15-46 y). Fisher exact tests were used to compare categoric variables and Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare continuous variables. The primary outcome was the live birth rate in the entire cohort. Additional outcomes analyzed included differences in immunotherapy regimens, and outcomes associated with exposure to cyclosporine and tacrolimus, time to transplantation (<12 vs >12 mo), and time period of pregnancy (1986-2000 vs 2001-2016).

Results: Of the pregnancies, 69% resulted in live births, 19% resulted in miscarriages or still births, and 9% were terminated. A higher proportion of patients who conceived more than 1 year after liver transplantation had live births than of women who conceived before this time (98% vs 80%; P = .006). Tacrolimus exposure was associated with higher risks of premature delivery (P = .045) and caesarian section (P = .031) than cyclosporine exposure. Compared with the period from 1986 to 2000, women who conceived from 2001 to 2016 had a significantly shorter time between transplantation and conception (median, 3 vs 7 y; P = .027), frequent use of tacrolimus vs cyclosporine (84% vs 26%; P = .001), and a higher incidence of cesarean section (44% vs 32%; P = .025).

Conclusions: Almost 70% of women who conceive after liver transplantation have live births, although this rate is lower than that of women in the overall population. These cases require involvement of hepatologists and obstetricians.

Keywords: Immune Suppressive Drug; Newborn; Safety; Survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting*
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplant Recipients*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents