IVF Birth Defects

Parents who conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be at a higher risk of having a baby with IVF birth defects than parents who conceive naturally, according to a new review of several dozen studies.

Though parents who use technology to help them have a baby may have been aware of some increased health risks, this report is one of the first to make clear the chances for in vitro fertilization birth defects. Parents who feel they were not adequately warned about these defects may have grounds to pursue legal action.

Examining IVF Risk

In vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, has been available in the U.S. since 1981, and is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. After fertilization takes place, the embryo is physically positioned in the mother’s uterus to allow gestation to proceed.

The success of IVF depends on a number of factors, including the mother’s age, the health of her eggs, the condition of the sperm, and the treatment methods used. Examples of IVF risk include injuries to the organs near the ovaries, pelvic infections, multiple pregnancies, and miscarriage.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the risk of birth defects in children conceived naturally is 2-3 percent, while the risk of IVF birth defects is 2.6–3.9 percent. This latest study, however, reveals that the risk of in vitro fertilization birth defects may be much higher than that.

Study Shows Higher Risk of IVF Birth Defects

Researchers at Nanjing Medical University collected the results of 46 studies that compared the number of birth defects among children conceived using IVF and children conceived normally. They discovered that the risk of having a birth defect was 37 percent higher for IVF children.

This study was of significant size, with data for over 124,000 children. Those conceived through IVF or ICSI (in which a single sperm is injected into an egg), were at a significantly higher risk of IVF birth defects. These defects occurred in the genitals, skeleton, digestive system and nervous system.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that three out of every 100 babies born in the U.S. will suffer from major birth defects. At the rates indicated in these recent findings, which were published in the scientific journal Fertility and Sterility, that rate would jump to four in every 100.

What Causes In Vitro Fertilization Birth Defects?

Scientists don’t yet know what may cause the increased risk of in vitro fertilization birth defects. So far, they have come up with four theories:

  • The IVF techniques, which involve handling of the embryo, may somehow increase IVF risk
  • Fertility drugs may somehow be involved
  • People who have trouble conceiving could already be at a higher risk for giving birth to a baby with birth defects
  • Because couples using IVF are closely monitored, even subtle abnormalities are reported, which may not otherwise have been detected

A Birth Defects Lawyer Can Help

If your child was born with IVF birth defects, you may be eligible for a birth defects lawsuit. Similar to those seeking explanations for Nexium birth defects and Prilosec birth defects, you’re entitled to know the full extent of your legal rights, and may receive monetary compensation if your child was put in harm’s way because of negligence or failure to warn. For a free and confidential cause evaluation, contact a Chaffin Luhana LLP at 1-888-480-1123.


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