Certain Assisted Reproductive Technologies may Increase the Risk of Birth Defects

test  tube  baby

 

A recent study presented at the World Congress on Building Consensus in Gynecology, Infertility and Perinatology in Barcelona, Spain, has tried to compare the risk of developing major birth defects associated with reproductive technologies commonly employed around the world. The researchers from the Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide compared technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF), intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection ((ICSI), induction of ovulation and transfer of fresh or frozen embryo, and the risk of birth defects for each of these technologies. The results of the study have  been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
 
The researchers, led by Michael Davis, from the Robinson Institute and School of Pediatrics and Reproductive Health, analyzed 60 assisted births and linked them to more than 300,000 births( delivery after 20 months or a birth weight of a minimum of 400 g) and around 18,000 birth defects (including cerebral palsy). The risk of birth defects diagnosed before the child was five years old was compared in women who delivered with the help of assisted reproductive technology, those who underwent spontaneous delivery, those who received treatment for reproduction but delivered spontaneously, and those who had no record of infertility.
 
The researchers observed that the risk of birth defects in pregnancies without any form of assisted conception was 5.8% compared to 8.3% in women who delivered with the help of assisted reproductive technologies. The risk of birth defects associated with IVF was found to be 7.2%, whereas the risk associated with ICSI was as high as 9.9%. It was observed that women who had a history of infertility, also had a higher percentage of birth defects, irrespective of whether the woman conceived with assistance of reproductive technologies or without it. It was also observed that the risk of birth defects was considerably lowered after cryopreservation of embryos.
 
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Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2009