In vitro fertilization linked to increase risk for birth defects

October 20, 2012

In vitro fertilization (IVF) may significantly increase the risk of birth defects, particularly those of the eye, heart, reproductive organs and urinary systems, according to new research presented Saturday, Oct. 20, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

According to the study, despite increasing use of IVF in the United States, associations between birth defects and IVF are poorly understood. Management of birth defects comprises a large part of pediatric surgical care and demands significant .

According to the Centers for Disease Control, California has the highest rate of IVF usage in the United States. In the abstract, " Associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology: A California Statewide Analysis," researchers examined infants born in California from 2006-2007 after IVF and other treatments such as fertility-enhancing drugs or artificial insemination. Researchers examined maternal age, race, the number of times the mother had given birth, infant gender, year of birth and presence of major birth defects.

"Our findings included a significant association between the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as certain types of in vitro fertilization, and an increased risk of birth defects," said study author Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, a general surgery resident at UCLA Medical Center, who conducted the research at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.

Overall, 3,463 infants with major birth defects were identified among 4,795 infants born after IVF and 46,025 naturally conceived infants with similar maternal demographics. Birth defects were significantly increased for infants born after IVF – 9 percent versus 6.6 percent for naturally conceived infants, even after controlling for . Specifically, malformations of the eye (0.3 percent versus 0.2 percent), heart (5 percent versus 3 percent), and genitourinary system (1.5 percent versus 1 percent) were greater in IVF infants. Overall, an IVF infant's odds of birth defects were 1.25 times greater than that of a naturally conceived infant with similar maternal characteristics. Risk of birth defects after other fertility treatments such as or ovulation induction alone were not significant.

"For parents considering in vitro fertilization or other forms of , it is important that they understand and discuss with their doctor the potential risks of the procedure before making a decision," said Kelley-Quon.

Explore further: Higher risk of birth defects from assisted reproduction

Related Stories

Higher risk of birth defects from assisted reproduction

May 6, 2012
A University of Adelaide study has identified the risk of major birth defects associated with different types of assisted reproductive technology.

New study finds stronger regulations of in vitro fertilization may save lives

April 14, 2011
The number of couples struggling with infertility is on the rise, and these couples often use assisted reproductive technologies, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), to get pregnant. Although IVF can be successful, it can ...

Prenatal use of newer antiepileptic drugs not associated with increased risk of major birth defects

May 17, 2011
Use of newer-generation antiepileptic drugs, which are also prescribed for bipolar mood disorders and migraine headaches, during the first trimester of pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of major birth defects ...

Recommended for you

Women exposed to smoke while in womb more likely to miscarry

July 13, 2017
Women exposed to cigarette smoke while in their mothers' wombs are more likely to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Lack of a hormone in pregnant mice linked to preeclampsia

June 30, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Singapore, the Netherlands and Turkey has isolated a hormone in pregnant mice that appears to be associated with preeclampsia—a pregnancy-related condition characterized by ...

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

June 28, 2017
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world

June 22, 2017
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus. Before fertilization, the pH of uterine fluid helps create a conducive environment for sperm migration, and afterward, ...

New clues in puzzle over pre-eclampsia and cholesterol regulation

June 21, 2017
Scientists studying a mystery link between the dangerous pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia and an increased risk of heart disease in later life for both mother and child have uncovered important new clues.

Are maternal hormones different when carrying a boy or a girl?

June 15, 2017
With advances in prenatal testing it's now possible to find out whether a pregnancy will result in a male or female baby as early as eight weeks' gestation.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.