Birth Defects Double in IVF Babies
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new study has found that babies conceived through assisted conception procedures
are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with major birth defects in their
first year of life.
research in Australia, published in the latest edition of the prestigious New
England Journal of Medicine, also found that these babies were more likely to
have multiple major defects.
birth defects were apparent in 8.6% of infants conceived by intracytoplasmic
sperm injection and 9% of babies conceived by in-vitro fertilisation compared
with 4.2% of naturally conceived children. The infants conceived by assisted
conception had more major cardiovascular, genitourinary, chromosomal and
co-author, Jenny Kurinczuk, from the University of Leicester, said there were
many factors that might increase the risk of birth defects.
factors could include the relatively older age of infertile couples, the
underlying causes of their infertility and the medications used to induce
ovulation and sustain conception," Dr Kurinczuk said.
might also be associated with the procedures themselves such as the freezing and
thawing of embryos or the method of fertilisation."
Kurinczuk, Senior Lecturer in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology at the
University, said she believed it was important that couples considering assisted
conception were given as much information as possible.
a doubling of risk is significant, it must be remembered that more than 90% of
infants had no birth defects," she said.
this is information that couples need to have so that they can make their own
assessment of the risk."
Kurinczuk said this study differed from previous international studies in that
the research team had access to the comprehensive information contained in
Western Australia's unique Reproductive Technology Register, Midwife's
Notification System and Birth Defects Registry. The quality of the data enabled
them to overcome some of the weaknesses of previous studies.
National Health and Medical Research Council has awarded the Telethon Institute
for Child Health Research, through The University of Western Australia, a grant
to extend the study, which will involve Dr Kurinczuk at Leicester, to look at
birth defects in children up to six years of age and other pregnancy outcomes.
more information, please contact:
Jennifer J Kurinczuk
Senior Lecturer in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University of Leicester
22-28 Princess Road West
Leicester LE1 6TP
Tel 0116 252 3202
Fax 0116 252 3272
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