Preconception counseling, fertility, and pregnancy complications after abdominal organ transplantation: a survey and cohort study of 532 recipients


  • Conflict of interest: None.



Pregnancy after solid organ transplant is a significant priority for transplant recipients but how patients report being counseled is unknown.


We performed a single-center retrospective cohort study and telephone survey of female patients ages 18–49 at the time of kidney, pancreas, or liver transplant from 2000 to 2012 (n = 532). Data on pregnancy counseling, fertility, and maternal, fetal- and transplant-specific outcomes were collected. Multivariate Cox models assessed the impact of pregnancy on graft-specific outcomes.


The survey response rate was 29% (n = 152). One-third (n = 51) of women were actively counseled against pregnancy by one or more providers. A total of 17 pregnancies occurred among nine patients (5.9%), with 47% live births, 47% early embryonic demises, 5.9% stillbirths. Of live births, 50% were premature. Gestational complications, including diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia were present in 88% of mothers. Pregnancy after transplant was associated with higher rates of acute rejection than nulliparous transplant recipients (33% vs. 5.6%, p = 0.07) but did not significantly affect graft survival (HR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.99–1.01), after stratifying by organ and adjusting for clinical factors.


This study suggests that transplant patients are being counseled against pregnancy despite acceptable risks of complications and no specific effects on long-term graft function.