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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Does IVF increase the risk of birth defects?

Previous studies have raised concerns that assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are more likely than natural methods to conceive children with birth disorders. 

To test whether ART increases the risk of birth anomalies, Chinese researchers studied the records of 15,405 babies born between 2004 and 2008 from several medical centers.

It was found that ART did not increase the risk of birth defects.

There were 189 children (1.23 percent) with serious defects but this is not significantly different from the 1.35 percent seen in children born through natural means.

The minute difference was not statistically significant, which means that the difference could have occurred by chance.

The study also found the same pattern of defects as seen in the general population, with heart and neurologic defects, hand and foot malformations, cleft lip or palate, and digestive tract being the most common.

A study from France showed four percent of babies had major defects, not much higher among babies in the general population.

In the US, congenital anomalies occur in 0.03 percent of pregnancies.


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