Wednesday, October 24, 2012
In Vitro Fertilization Linked to Increased Risk of Birth Defects
In vitro fertilization may significantly increase the risk of birth defects, particularly those of the eyes, heart, reproductive organs and urinary system, according to a new UCLA study.
UCLA researchers presented findings from their abstract, “Congenital Malformations Associated With Assisted Reproductive Technology: A California Statewide Analysis,” on Oct. 20 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
Despite the increasing use of IVF in the United States, links between birth defects and IVF are poorly understood, the researchers said. The management of birth defects accounts for a large part of pediatric surgical care and demands significant health care resources. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has the highest rate of IVF usage in the United States.
For the study, the researchers looked at infants born in California from 2006 to 2007 following the use of assisted reproductive technologies — fertility treatments involving the manipulation of both eggs and sperm — primarily IVF. They examined the mother’s age, race and the number of times she had previously given birth, as well as the infant’s gender, year of birth, whether the infant was part of a multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.) and the presence of major birth defects.
“Our 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 lead author Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon, a general surgery resident at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, who conducted the research at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.