As if life isn’t hard enough for couples having a hard time conceiving, now a study shows that fertility treatments have a huge blunder. According to a study coming from Australia, fertility treatments increase risk of birth defects.
Yes, it’s a risk that many couples looking to be parents accept: test-tube babies are prone to a higher risk of birth defects. But, scientists have been trying to pin point the cause for some time now. They initially thought mother’s age and habits such as smoking and drinking might be involved. Then, scientists looked closer at fertility treatments and infertility side-effects also.
The answer was found by a team of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia. Researchers found that fertility treatments do in fact increase risk of birth defects. In fact, according to the study, injecting a single sperm into an egg puts the baby at birth at a 10 percent higher risk of defects.
The assisted reproductive technology in discussion above is known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection. It is usually a therapy for the treatment of male infertility. On the overall, data showed that babies developed this way have a 57 percent higher risk of birth defects down the line.
For the babies born thanks to in vitro fertilization, the risk of birth defect was 26 percent. Researchers also found that other fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination and intake of the drug Clomid are also linked to an increase risk of birth defects.
Australian researches have gathered data from 300,000 babies born in South Australia during 1986 and 2002. Out of the 300,000 births, 6,163 were due thanks to some assisted reproductive technology. According to the data, 8.3 percent of the children conceived with some sort of assisted reproductive technology had developed a birth defect. In comparison, only 5.8 percent of naturally conceived babies had the same trouble.
The study might not be enough for couples looking to be parents to stay away from the expensive assisted reproductive technology, but it should at least make them think twice about it. Birth defects in babies born thanks to fertility treatments aren’t to be taken at ease. Birth defects include cerebral palsy, gastrointestinal abnormalities as well as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and urogenital problems.