Birth Defects on a rise in Babies Born Out of Fertility Treatment
4 million babies are born every year with the aid of
Babies conceived with
treatment methods are more likely to have certain
birth defects than babies who are conceived naturally, according to a study
published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Eight percent of the
babies conceived through assistance were born with
birth defects such as heart, genital, kidney, lung and muscle problems,
compared to nearly 6 percent of babies who were conceived naturally, the study
found. Those conceived through fertility assistance were also more likely to
have cerebral palsy.
The study was carried out for 16 years and evaluated more than 308,974
births which happened between January 1986 and December 2002 in South Australia.
Birth defect rates were analyzed based on the type of fertility treatment.
Researchers divided women into three different groups: those who got pregnant
naturally; those who had history of infertility; and those who previously used
help in order to conceive. The study found that nearly 10 per cent of women, who
opted for ICSI method in order to get pregnant, gave birth to a baby with some
form of defect, such as cerebral palsy, bowel and urinary tract problems, as
well as problems with heart and lungs. Women who chose to use IVF treatments
were found to be at a slightly less risk of delivering a newborn with some form
of defect, with a 7.2 per cent defect rate. Risk of giving birth to a baby with
a health problem was tripled among women who used Clomid to induce ovulation
outside doctor's office.
The following types of birth defects were more common among babies
conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
- Septal heart defects: Twice as common among babies conceived by
- Cleft lip and/or cleft palate: 2.4 times as common among babies
conceived by ART
- Esophageal atresia (birth defect of the esophagus): 4.5 times
more common among babies conceived by ART
- Anorectal atresia (birth defect in the anal/rectal area): 3.7
times more common among babies conceived by ART
There are number of reasons responsible for birth defects
Age of mother: more women are waiting until they're older to have their
Prior reproductive complications that may make pregnancy more difficult.
Sperm Status- sperms that are being used during the intracytoplasmic
sperm injection (ICSI) procedure, might not be normal.
Mother being a smoker
folic acid supplements before you conceive. It helps prevent birth
defects such a spina bifida, but starting when you know you are pregnant may
be too late. A 400mcg daily supplement is safe for women to take long term,
even if they are not planning a pregnancy.
or intake of any other drug when you are pregnant, since these can harm
the baby. Heavy drinking early in pregnancy can cause very serious birth
defects, but unfortunately this can happen before you know you are pregnant.
Liver is packed with vitamin A and can be dangerous when you are
pregnant, since an overdose of vitamin A can cause birth defects. True, the
only known cases have involved women either eating huge amounts of liver
every day or taking vitamin A supplements, but to be on the safe side it is
best not eat a lot of liver if you are pregnant, and definitely not to take
vitamin A supplements.
meals should include the five basic food groups. Eat the following every
day: grain products (half in whole grain), vegetables (especially dark
green), fruits (not fruit juice), milk and dairy products, and meat and
protein foods. Oils, from fish, nut and vegetable sources, occasionally and
in small amounts, are helpful also. Remember - low fat and high fiber.
Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water, fruit juice, or milk every day. One
way of knowing if you're getting enough fluids is if your urine looks like
nearly-clear water or is a very light yellow. The proper amount of fluid
intake helps your body sustain the increase in blood volume.
Taking hot baths, using saunas, or exercising in hot, humid weather can
raise a woman's core temperature and have the potential to cause birth
defects, especially in the first trimester.
Of all the environmental harms, undoubtedly the most harmful is one
women can control--smoking. Although there is no evidence smoking causes
birth defects, it deprives the fetus of oxygen and leads to a number of
Keep all of your scheduled appointments with the doctor. Follow all
instructions carefully. Never be ashamed or afraid to ask questions. Be
honest and open at all times.
It's possible that the IVF techniques themselves, the jostling and handling of
the embryos, or the drugs that go along with fertility treatment, could be
involved. Go for IVF treatment at a recognized centre.
Dated 19 May 2012