A study was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that revealed there could be some birth defect issues with infertility treatments. Not all infertility treatments are issues in this study but common ones like IVF & ICSI have shown they could be correlated with birth defects.
The title of the article that was published is, “Reproductive Technologies and the Risk of Birth Defects.” It was published on May 5th, 2012 by Michael J. Davies, M.P.H., Ph.D., Vivienne M. Moore, M.P.H., Ph.D., Kristyn J. Willson, B.Sc., Phillipa Van Essen, M.P.H., Kevin Priest, B.Sc., Heather Scott, B.Mgmt., Eric A. Haan, M.B., B.S., and Annabelle Chan, M.B., B.S, D.P.H..
The one thing that stands out from the study that many other organizations are not covering is that the results of the study are not absolute. The very first part of the Infertility Treatment study mentions that in the background explanation where it says, “The extent to which birth defects after infertility treatment may be explained by underlying parental factors is uncertain.” This says to us that while there were findings things like IVF or ICSI might have caused birth defects it could be parental factors causing the issue.
The results from the study are listed in the article as follows:
Of the 308,974 births, 6163 resulted from assisted conception. The unadjusted odds ratio for any birth defect in pregnancies involving assisted conception (513 defects, 8.3%) as compared with pregnancies not involving assisted conception (17,546 defects, 5.8%) was 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33 to 1.62); the multivariate-adjusted odds ratio was 1.28 (95% CI, 1.16 to 1.41). The corresponding odds ratios with in vitro fertilization (IVF) (165 birth defects, 7.2%) were 1.26 (95% CI, 1.07 to 1.48) and 1.07 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.26), and the odds ratios with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) (139 defects, 9.9%) were 1.77 (95% CI, 1.47 to 2.12) and 1.57 (95% CI, 1.30 to 1.90). A history of infertility, either with or without assisted conception, was also significantly associated with birth defects.
To simplify the above information it really comes down to the fact that 8.3% of the participants that had infertility treatments had birth defects in their child. In the study the people that did not use doctor assisted births like In Vitro Fertilization there were only 5.8% of the children born that had birth defects.
The conclusions of the study were listed from the article as the following:
The increased risk of birth defects associated with IVF was no longer significant after adjustment for parental factors. The risk of birth defects associated with ICSI remained increased after multivariate adjustment, although the possibility of residual confounding cannot be excluded. (Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.)
This really tells us that truthfully parents could be the issue here. If a parent is already having trouble with their fertility it makes you think that those parents might be having nature try and stop birth defects in the first place. With advanced procedures like IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Inject) the parents are getting higher birth defect rates but there could be an underlying cause. Feel free to reference the original study at the links above.
What do you think about the results? Tell us in the comments!