Family Planning in Liver Transplant: Patient and Provider Knowledge and Practices

Fertility is often impaired in adolescents and women with cirrhosis, but it is rapidly restored after liver transplantation (LT). Early and unplanned pregnancies confer increased risks to maternal, fetal, and graft health, underscoring the need for reproductive counseling. However, data on reproductive practices or counseling in the LT setting are limited. An anonymous online Qualtrics (Provo, UT) survey was sent to transplant patients and providers to gauge knowledge and practices surrounding contraception and pregnancy. Eligible participants included transplant patients aged 14?45 years and their transplant providers. Patient response was 50.0% (74/148), 14 of whom were pre?LT patients and 60 of whom were post?LT patients. Counseling occurred in 37% of patients prior to transplant and 82% after transplant. Most patients (86%) considered family planning a high priority in their transplant care. Contraception? and pregnancy?specific counseling was provided by LT providers in 60% and 44% of patients, respectively. The most desired mode of counseling by patients was in?person discussion with an LT provider (89%). Despite most post?LT patients receiving counseling, only 41% used contraception during the first year after LT, of whom 32% relied on high failure methods. Of the 31/43 (72.1%) provider responses, 96% voiced interest in additional reproductive education. Most providers (90%) correctly advised that patients delay pregnancy during the first year after LT, although misconceptions about safety of estrogen and intrauterine devices were selected by 53% and 42%, respectively. Some favored resources by providers were educational pamphlets in clinic (88%) and automated note templates to prompt family planning inquiry (72%). Transplant patients and providers have key deficiencies in their knowledge of contraception and corresponding practices. Most post?LT patients receive counseling, yet contraception practices are inadequate for preventing unplanned pregnancy. Discussion with transplant providers was the most favored counseling modality by patients, underscoring our critical role in optimizing post?LT reproductive care.