A recently conducted study underlines that children conceived via assisted conception are at an increased risk of birth defects. The research study assessed 308,974 births in Southern Australia out of which 6,163 babies were born with the aid of fertility treatments or assisted reproductive techniques.
The study report was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, which examined the outcome of children born between 1986 and 2002. It was found that about 8.3% of children born after infertility treatment had few birth defects in comparison with about 5.8% that were conceived naturally.
According to the research panel, birth defects are dependent on the type of infertility treatment used. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is highly likely to cause birth defects in babies. Home use of an ovulation stimulation medication can be another trigger of birth defects in babies.
Alternatively, such a connection was not observed in in vitro fertilisation (IVF). There could still be a birth defect in a newborn if a mother is aged or a smoker. Moreover, it was found that frozen embryos created through IVF are less likely to have negative impact than those implanted immediately i.e. before freezing.
The study report also highlighted that the risk of birth defects due to ICSI is incredibly high i.e. up to 57%. According to them, the reason behind the exceptionally high likelihood of birth defect was the extra handling of egg and sperm. The technique has come a long way and therefore, it is unknown whether the same outcome will be found today. Home use of a drug called clomiphene citrate (Clomid) that helps in stimulating egg production was found to be another fertility jab that may cause birth defects.
Most of the births resulting from assisted conception were found to be free of birth defects whereas treatment with assisted reproductive procedures increased the risk of birth defects in comparison with spontaneous conception.