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Study Confirms IVF Babies More Likely to Have Birth Defects

A new study assessing children conceived via assisted reproductive technology (ART) has found that they are significantly more likely to have birth defects than children conceived naturally.

Bioedge.org is reporting that a paper, authored by academics from the UK and Australia and published in the Human Reproduction Upate, compiled 82 studies done on infants conceived through ART between 1995 and 2012.

After analyzing the data from these studies, the authors found that ART infants are 32 percent more likely to have birth defects than naturally conceived children. The number jumps to 42 percent when considering only major birth defects.

The author claim they it had been 10 years since they had conducted a systematic search of the literature on birth defect risk among ART infants compared to non-ART infants. "Because of changes to ART practice since that review and the publication of more studies the objective of this review was to include these more recent studies to estimate birth defect risk after ART and to examine birth defect risk separately in ART singletons and multiples."

What they found was that "birth defects remain more common in ART infants."

The authors speculated about possible explanations:

“Factors associated with treatment that may increase the risk of birth defects include the underlying causes of infertility; and aspects of the ART procedures themselves such as the medications used, culture media composition, length of time in culture, freezing and thawing of embryos, altered hormonal environment at the time of implantation, the manipulation of gametes and embryos or a combination of these.”

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