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IVF-related birth defects may originate with moms, not treatment
May 5th, 2012
06:01 AM ET

IVF-related birth defects may originate with moms, not treatment

Babies conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) have a higher risk of birth defects than those conceived naturally, but the increased risk may stem from the parents rather than the treatment itself, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the study, among the largest of its kind to date, researchers analyzed more than 300,000 births in Australia and found the risk of birth defects to be 26% higher with IVF than with natural, or unassisted, conception - a finding consistent with previous research.

IVF involves combining - but not injecting– a woman's egg with sperm, usually in a laboratory dish, then transferring the resulting embryo into the woman's uterus.

But virtually all of the increased risk associated with IVF could be attributed to the health and demographic profile of the mother, including her age, body mass index, socioeconomic status, and any health conditions (such as diabetes) she may have experienced before or during pregnancy.
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