Common Fertility Treatments Might Cause Birth Defects

BySarah Yang
May 2012
Hero Image

New research shows that babies conceived with the help of fertility treatments might be more likely to develop birth defects. According to an Australian study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts found that there was an 8.3 percent birth defect risk for babies whose parents use fertility treatments compared to the 5.8 percent risk for babies conceived without help. Researchers analyzed the South Australian registry of over 300,000 babies conceived naturally and over 6,000 conceived with fertility treatments between 1986 to 2002. They found that there was 7.2 percent birth defect risk in babies born through IVF and a 9.9 percent risk for babies born through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). There was also an increased risk with the use of Clomid as well.

Before you freak out, know that there’s also good news for people undergoing fertility treatments. Researchers found that after they accounted for other factors like smoking or the mother’s age, the risks associated with IVF and other fertility treatments weren’t as significant (the risk associated with ICSI did remained high.) Experts suggest that people who are undergoing fertility treatments can lower their child’s birth defect risk by using IVF without ICSI and freezing their embryos.

What do you think of these findings? Are you worried about your baby’s birth defect risks?

5 Signs You’re Fertile Now

Cassie Kreitner
Senior Editor

Woman Is the First to Have a Baby Using Ovary Frozen in Childhood

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

What Is Electro-Acupuncture?

Eric Widra, MD, chair of practice committee for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and a reproductive endocrinologist with Shady Grove Fertility in Washington, DC
Fertility Specialist