Fertility Treatments Linked With Birth Defects

November 18th, 2008

We infertile couples have to face a lot of decisions that other couples don’t have to. So, if you knew that your assisted efforts to get pregnant would increase the likelihood of having a child with birth defects, would you still do it? A lot of parents-to-be are going to have to ask that question.

A study released by the CDC suggests that babies conceived via methods ”such as in vitro fertilization and the use of donor eggs—are two to four times more likely to be born with certain types of birth defects than infants conceived naturally.” What do they mean by “certain” birth defects? Their list includes septal heart defects, or a hole in the heart, cleft lip, cleft palate, and gastrointestinal defects.

“It is important for parents to realize that the individual risk for these birth defects remain low,” Reefhuis said, a member of the study. “It sounds like a lot to say ‘a two- to fourfold increased risk,’ but you have to keep in mind that the starting risk for these individual defects is actually pretty low.”