What is the impact of preconception abdominal cerclage on fertility: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Nicola J. Vousden*, Jenny Carter, Paul T. Seed, Andrew H. Shennan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
228 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: There is documented concern that cerclage may cause cervical stenosis or changes to the cervical mucus, which may reduce fertility. The aim of this study is to determine whether placement of a preconception abdominal cerclage affects fertility. Material and methods: This was a planned subgroup analysis of a randomized controlled trial comparing abdominal cerclage, high vaginal cerclage or low vaginal cerclage. Women with a history of previous second-trimester miscarriage or preterm birth despite having a low vaginal cerclage, presenting to specialist preterm birth services in the UK, were eligible for inclusion. Only women randomized before conception were included in this analysis. Women randomized to abdominal cerclage had the surgery performed before conception (abdominal group). Women randomized to high or low transvaginal cerclage received it in the subsequent pregnancy (control group). Results: Abdominal cerclage was performed in 19 women and transvaginal cerclage in 48 women. Overall, there was no statistically significant difference between time to conception between the two groups (hazard ratio 1.34; 95% confidence interval 0.72-2.50, p = 0.35). Rates of conception at 6, 12, and 18 months were similar - 37% in abdominal group vs. 35% in control group at 6 months (relative risk 1.04; 95% confidence interval 0.52-2.10; p = 0.91); 58% in abdominal group vs. 42% in control group at 12 months (relative risk 1.39; 95% confidence interval 0.84-2.31, p = 0.21); 74% in abdominal group vs. 56% in control group at 18 months (relative risk 1.31; 95% confidence interval 0.91-1.89; p = 0.15). Conclusion: This subgroup analysis of randomized data indicates that abdominal cerclage does not affect fertility rates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Feb 2017


  • Abdominal cerclage
  • Cervical cerclage
  • Fertility
  • Randomized controlled trial


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