Linking Birth and Infant Death Records With Assisted Reproductive Technology Data: Massachusetts, 1997–1998

  • Saswati Sunderam
  • Laura A. Schieve
  • Bruce Cohen
  • Zi Zhang
  • Gary Jeng
  • Meredith Reynolds
  • Victoria Wright
  • Christopher Johnson
  • Maurizio Macaluso
  • The Massachusetts Consortium for Assisted Reproductive Technology Epidemiologic Research (MCARTER)

Objectives: To link data from the US assisted reproductive technology (ART) registry with the Massachusetts birth–infant death file to create a comprehensive dataset on the circumstances surrounding conception and maternal and infant outcomes for a population of ART-conceived infants. Methods: The authors sought to link data for 3704 ART-conceived live-born infants from 2703 deliveries in 1997–1998 involving Massachusetts resident mothers who gave birth in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Connecticut to their corresponding Massachusetts birth record using a two-stage algorithm. Maternal and infant dates of birth served as the primary linkage variables. Maternal names for a subset of the ART-conceived infants were obtained and used in the second stage of the algorithm to confirm a sample of records that matched in Stage I, to resolve duplicate matches, and to link unmatched records. Results: In Stage I, 78% of ART deliveries matched with only one Massachusetts record, 2% matched with two records, and 20% remained unmatched. Overall, the complete algorithm using maternal name data for a portion of records yielded an 89% linkage rate. Nearly all of the records that matched during Stage I that were evaluated with maternal name data in Stage II were confirmed as correctly linked. Conclusions: This project confirms that high-yield data linkage can be achieved in the absence of specific identifiers (e.g., name and social security number). Nonetheless, additional matches were achieved when name data were obtained. This linkage creates the first population-based file in the US capturing detailed information on ART births.


birth certificates data linkage death certificates reproductive technology assisted 



American Society for Reproductive Medicine


Assisted reproductive technology


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Dates of birth; IDOB, Infant date of birth


Maternal date of birth


Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology


Triplet or higher order



The activities conducted to perform this research were funded under Purchase Order (0000068163) with the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. The authors acknowledge the member clinics of the Massachusetts Consortium of Assisted Reproductive Technology Epidemiologic Research (MCARTER) for their vital support and assistance in the CDC-Massachusetts Department of Public Health assisted reproductive technology linkage project. The ART data used for this study were collected using the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) ART reporting system. This data system was developed by SART in 1986. Since 1995, data from the SART system have been used by the CDC to calculate pregnancy success rates for ART clinics operating in the United States. This system is jointly supported by SART, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the CDC. The authors thank SART and ASRM, without whose contributions this work would not have been possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saswati Sunderam
    • 1
  • Laura A. Schieve
    • 1
    • 4
  • Bruce Cohen
    • 2
  • Zi Zhang
    • 2
  • Gary Jeng
    • 1
  • Meredith Reynolds
    • 1
  • Victoria Wright
    • 1
  • Christopher Johnson
    • 1
  • Maurizio Macaluso
    • 1
  • The Massachusetts Consortium for Assisted Reproductive Technology Epidemiologic Research (MCARTER)
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Department of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.The member of clinics of MCARTER are Baystate Reproductive Medicine, Boston IVF, Fertility Center of New England, Massachusetts General Hospital, New England Fertility and Endocrinology Associates, Reproductive Science Center, and Women and Infants IVFBostonUSA
  4. 4.CDC Mailstop E-86AtlantaUSA

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