Common infertility treatments may increase risk of birth defects

preemie baby 435x293 Common infertility treatments may increase risk of birth defectsBabies born with the help of common fertility treatments including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the drug Clomid are at greater risk of birth defects, according to a new study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study involved data from a South Australian registry of more than 300,000 birth records and 18,000 birth defects. Researchers looked for major birth defects, such as cerebral palsy, heart defects and gastrointestinal defects, among babies born with the help of fertility treatments, including IVF, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), and ovulation induction.

Among the 6,100 births in which fertility treatments were used, there was an overall 8.3 percent risk for any birth defect compared to a 5.8 percent risk among births in which no fertility treatments were used.

Babies born through IVF had a 7.2 percent risk of birth defects, and babies born through ICSI had a 9.9 percent risk. Women who used Clomid (cloiphene citrate) to induce ovulation had three times the risk of giving birth to a baby with a birth defect, according to the study.

Researchers say the data may be skewed because of a history of infertility and other underlying health conditions could raise the risks for birth defects. Age is also a factor, as older mothers are at greater risk for delivering a baby with birth defects.

While the study does show couples who have infertility issues are at greater risk for having a baby with birth defects, the risk of birth defects using fertility treatments is still relatively low, researchers reassure.

Source: CBS News