Friday, February 09, 2007

Study: Fertility Treatment Raises Birth-defect Risk

From The Seattle Times:

The biggest difference was seen in the rate of gastrointestinal problems, such as defects in the abdominal wall or organs not in the right place. Babies conceived through ART were nearly nine times more likely to have such problems —
one in 200 births versus six per 10,000 for the others.
However, "it's still pretty uncommon," said lead researcher Darine El-Chaar of the University of Ottawa.
The chance of cardiovascular defects was more than twice as high — 90 per 10,000 babies conceived through ART versus 40 among those conceived naturally. Defects such as malformed limbs also were slightly more common, but not facial defects such as cleft palate or problems such as spina bifida.
The researchers note that people who have trouble conceiving also may have underlying genetic or health factors that could partly account for the higher rates of birth defects.

The emphasis is mine on the last paragraph, because it struck me as something to think about.