In Vitro Fertilization and Birth Defects
Reported December 5, 2005
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study shows babies conceived through in vitro fertilization have a slightly higher risk of major birth defects.
The study, headed by Brad Van Voorhis, M.D., the F.K. “Ted” Chapler Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, was based on births in Iowa from 1989 to 2002. Researchers used assisted reproduction records from UI Hospitals and Clinics and birth defects records from the Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders.
Data revealed major birth defects in 90 of 1,462 IVF-conceived children. Of the naturally conceived children, 369 of 8,422 had a major birth defect. Comparatively, this means 6 percent of children born using in vitro fertilization have a major birth defect whereas 4 percent of children born naturally have a major birth defect.
While the findings indicate there is a slightly higher possibility for major birth defects in children born through in vitro, it is only a 2 percent higher chance and does not prove the procedure itself is responsible.
Dr. Voorhis says, “The finding indicates that the vast majority of IVF-conceived babies are not affected by major birth defects.” He says the question is now, “Whether the slight increased risk for IVF babies is caused by the treatment itself, by factors in infertile couples who seek IVF, or by some combination of the treatment and these factors.”
“Overall the study should reassure people that there is not a huge increased risk in using IVF,” Dr. Vorhis says.
SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility;2005;84:1308-1315