Heterotopic pregnancy after ovulation induction and assisted reproductive technologies: a literature review from 1971 to 1993

Fertil Steril. 1996 Jul;66(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(16)58378-2.


Objective: To review and analyze records on heterotopic pregnancy occurring after ovulation induction and assisted reproductive technologies.

Data identification: Case reports in the English literature related to the topic were identified through a computerized bibliography search up to December 1993.

Conclusions: The incidence of heterotopic pregnancies increased in recent years because of the escalating use of new reproductive technologies in infertile patients and has stabilized at approximately 1:100 pregnancies with these procedures. The main reasons for development of such a condition in these patients are past tubal or pelvic disease and multiple ovulations or multiple ET. Progress has been made in diagnosis of heterotopic pregnancy during the last two decades, mainly because of development of ultrasonographic techniques, especially transvaginal ultrasonography. Treatment of heterotopic pregnancy should be prompt to avoid maternal morbidity and mortality from extensive intraperitoneal bleeding. No increased intrauterine fetal mortality due to hemoperitoneum has been proven in the present review, except in advanced cornual pregnancies. More experience is needed for application of new treatment modalities such as salpingocentesis, which are used successfully for ectopic pregnancy, in treatment of heterotopic pregnancy. With early diagnosis and skillful treatment, the outcome of the intrauterine pregnancy is favorable and its survival rate should increase in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ovulation Induction*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / therapy
  • Reproductive Techniques* / trends