A study presented over the weekend in New Orleans shows IVF is linked to birth defects. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments boost the risk of birth defects by 25 percent.
Since 1978, there were 5 million babies born using IVF treatments, but only 5 percent of infertile couples are using this procedure. It is a sort of last resort solution, used when nothing else has worked in conceiving. For many, it is the last chance to have a baby. A recent study however is enough to raise concern, as IVF procedures might boost birth defects.
A study published earlier this month in New Orleans during the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that IVF is also linked to birth defects. The data showed that babies born by IVF are 25 percent more likely to suffer birth defects. However, according to researchers, the risk remains low.
“We don’t really understand why IVF raises the risk for birth defects” said Lorraine Kelley-Quon, researcher at the UCLA Medical Center. “But we have now seen many studies from all over the world that show this association” she told WebMd.
In Vitro Fertilization treatments aren’t the first or the last fertility solutions that has been linked to a birth defect risk increase. Health experts are concerned about the Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), an alternative fertility treatment on the rise. Although it is thought to be more successful than IVF, it has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. One in 10 babies born by ICSI presented some abnormality.
Researchers took an in-depth look at a statewide database of births and compared the ratio of babies born with birth defects based on how they were conceived. Babies born through IVF treatments as well as other fertility treatments were 9 percent more likely to present a birth defect. The most common birth defects associated with high-tech fertility treatments were heart, reproductive organs and urinary system defects as well as malformations of the eye.
Based on the researchers’ analysis, artificial insemination, fertility-enhancing drugs and intrauterine insemination are not linked to birth defects.
“Couples should understand that the majority of infants born after assisted reproductive technology are perfectly healthy” researcher Kelley-Quon told the Huffington Post. “The results of our study simply imply that couples considering [it] should talk with their doctor about the potential risks…so they can make an informed decision” she added.