NEW ORLEANS – In vitro
fertilization (IVF) may significantly increase the risk of birth defects,
particularly those of the eye, heart, reproductive organs and urinary systems,
according to new research presented Saturday, Oct. 20, at the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
to the study, despite increasing use of IVF in the United States, associations
between birth defects and IVF are poorly understood. Management of birth defects
comprises a large part of pediatric surgical care and demands significant
health care resources.
to the Centers for Disease Control, California
has the highest rate of IVF usage in the United States. In the abstract,
“Congenital Malformations Associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology: A
California Statewide Analysis,” researchers examined infants born in California
from 2006-2007 after IVF and other treatments such as fertility-enhancing drugs
or artificial insemination. Researchers examined maternal age, race, the number
of times the mother had given birth, infant gender, year of birth and presence
of major birth defects.
findings included a significant association between the use of assisted
reproductive technology, such as certain types of in vitro fertilization, and
an increased risk of birth defects,” said study author Lorraine Kelley-Quon,
MD, a general surgery resident at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, who
conducted the research at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
3,463 infants with major birth defects were identified among 4,795 infants born
after IVF and 46,025 naturally conceived infants with similar maternal
demographics. Birth defects were significantly increased for infants born after
IVF – 9 percent versus 6.6 percent for naturally conceived infants, even after
controlling for maternal factors. Specifically, malformations of the eye (0.3
percent versus 0.2 percent), heart (5 percent versus 3 percent), and
genitourinary system (1.5 percent versus 1 percent) were greater in IVF
infants. Overall, an IVF infant’s odds of birth defects were 1.25 times greater
than that of a naturally conceived infant with similar maternal
characteristics. Risk of birth defects after other fertility treatments such as
artificial insemination or ovulation induction alone were not significant.
considering in vitro fertilization or other forms of assisted reproductive
technology, it is important that they understand and discuss with their doctor
the potential risks of the procedure before making a decision,” said Kelley-Quon.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.