SureBaby Blog

Assisted Reproduction and Birth Defects – New Research

Posted by Alissa Robson

While it’s been known for a while that test tube babies have higher rates of birth defects than babies conceived naturally, doctors are now getting down to the business of finding out whether it’s the infertility itself or the fertility treatments that cause the higher rate.

Doctors have found that in IVF, where the egg and sperm are mixed in a dish, there is actually no higher rate of birth defects than those conceived naturally; however, in ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection),where a single sperm is injected into an egg, the numbers did go up.

Doctors aren’t sure why this happens, but have theorized that the jarring of the egg and sperm may be the cause, or that the genes may already be present in the sperm used to force-fertilize.

With the numbers of assisted reproduction cases steadily increasing – there are now 3.7 million babies born this way each year – this research is becoming extremely important. Those considering assisted reproduction need to be aware of the risks with each type of procedure, to weigh against their desire to conceive.

While the results on ICSI indicate only a 4 percent risk increase as opposed to natural birth (at 10 percent as opposed to 6), knowing the numbers is something that can help many hopeful parents make important decisions.

What do you think of these findings on assisted reproduction? Let us know in the SureBaby comments!

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