thread: IVF and birth defects - NEWS STORY

  1. #1
    Sal Guest

    IVF and birth defects - NEWS STORY

    This is a bit of a shock:

    IVF boosts birth defect risk by 40 percent
    By Clara Pirani
    January 28, 2005

    BABIES conceived through IVF are up to 40 per cent more likely to suffer birth defects including cleft palate, spina bifida and heart problems.
    Researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth analysed 25 studies from around the world and concluded that IVF babies consistently showed a 25 to 40 per cent greater risk of abnormalities. However, the researchers do not know why the birth defects are more common among IVF babies.
    Researcher Michelle Hansen said the defects could be caused by the IVF procedure, or couples who struggle to become pregnant could have an underlying medical condition that caused birth defects.
    "We don't know why yet, because it's very difficult to tease out the fact they come in with an underlying cause of infertility anyway," Ms Hansen told The Australian.
    "It would be a lot easier if a fertile couple had IVF, because then we could work out if it was just the treatment, or if it was something to do with an underlying disease. At the moment we don't know.
    "Other causes could be something to do with the treatment itself, the way the egg, sperm or embryo are manipulated, or the medications that are given to induce ovulation or to sustain pregnancy."
    Monash IVF's medical director Gab Kovacs said previous studies had shown women who had trouble getting pregnant had a higher risk of having babies with birth defects.
    "We've already shown that people who have got fertility problems, or sub-fertility as it's known, are poor reproducers," Professor Kovacs said. "Many years ago we did a paper on people who had ovulation problems and their abnormality rate was already up."
    Ms Hansen said anyone considering IVF should be warned about the increased risks. "I think in the past couple of years it has become quite standard practice for clinics to at least mention the research that has come out from WA and a few other places," she said.
    "And now this paper will make it even more accepted that they really need to provide this information so patients are giving informed consent when they undertake such treatment."
    The same researchers released a study in 2002 claiming the incidence of abnormalities in IVF babies was twice the level for those who were conceived naturally.
    "But now we've pooled research from all around the world, we found it's supported our findings that there is an increased risk, but it is lower than we previously thought," Ms Hansen said.
    Professor Kovacs said although there was an increased risk of defects, it was not substantial. He said about 3 per cent of babies who are conceived naturally would have birth defects.
    "We have to put it into perspective," he said.
    "If the basic risk is about 3 per cent, then even if there's a 30 to 40 per cent increase through IVF, that means there will be four out of 100 babies, instead of three out of 100 with abnormalities.
    "And some of the abnormalities are quite insignificant, things that don't really affect quality of life."
    About 5000 Australian babies a year are born using some form of IVF, about 2 per cent of total births.
    Ms Hansen said the institute would continue its research to try to determine what was causing the defects.
    The study will be published in the journal Human Reproduction next month.

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2004

    You know what I actually read some articles about this previous to agreeing to IVF and brought them up with my Doc and he claimed they werent true.... or at least that was his experience. Apparently ICSI has a higher rate than normal IVF too.

    Very scary, but then in perspective, it increases the chances by 1%... so, something that each of us has to way up before making a final decision.


  3. #3
    Sal Guest

    Yeah, even if the risks are slightly higher, we don't have any choice if we want a baby, so whilst I agree that facts need to be made public, scare-mongering doesn't help. It's not a lifestyle decision to have IVF, after all...

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2004

    Thats so true Sally. Its hard enough when you are undergoing IVF with peoples opinions, then they bring something like this out and people will be saying all sorts of stuff about having deformed babies and other horrible things like that...

    Like you say, its hardly a choice!


  5. #5
    Ex adm!n, quietly rusting....

    Feb 2004

    Gosh that is scary isn't it 8-[

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2004

    We were told that by using ICSI, there were no more birth defects than normal concieved babies.

    I personally think this report is a load of rot. If there were higher than normal risks, people would have to be informed properly as the potential for us to sue for misguided information would be huge.

    The other point is that, have they taken the patients age into account? A lot of women undergoing IVF are in there late 30's and ealy 40's (And I fit into this group almost!) and we know that there is an increased risk of birth defects in the "over 35's" for some reason.

    And lastly another point about this article is, they have taken it from overseas studies, and do these countries have the same medical standard as Australia?

    I wouldn't worry about it girls. You have more things to worry about without these panics in the papers.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2004
    Melbourne, Australia

    The several IVF babies I know of are all beautiful and healthy bubs.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2004

    hmm interesting. . . .

    As you guys know - i had twins through IVF. My son has a chromosone syndrome where he has extra X's and had birth defects to his bladder, urethea and penis. This was partly due to being prem , but also related to his chromosone problem. He also had a slight hair lip and tongue tie

    My daughter has absolutely nothing wrong.

    I often wonder if the drugs that were given to me caused them, as his chromose problem occured just after coception when his X and Y cells were dividing and sorting themselves out - But you know what. I don't care what the reason, and I AM JUST SO GLAD AND GRATEFUL TO HAVE HIM.

    The ironic thing is that the main thing with his condition is that he has a 90% chance of being infertile, but the clinic that I went through are now world leaders in helping men with his condition to conceive.

    After the kids were born, the rang me to see how everything went and do like a survey which was problably used in this data. They rang bak a few days later to tell me that they had just had one of their patients with the same problem as my son through for IVF and his wife had just given birth to a healthy and normal child. We cried so much with relief.

    By the time my son is ready to have kids anyway- you probaly just have to pop a pill to get pg the way technology is going.

    So that is my 50 cents worth.
    Statistics mean nothing to me anymore. They are just ways for doctors to measure their successes and failures . They don't consider people.


  9. #9
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2004

    Also, there is no real discussion about what "birth defects" actually are from this article (and many other similar ones I have read). I mean, a birth defect may be as serious as a major chromosonal problem, or a serious cleft palate, or mabe something as simple as a birth mark or a skin tag.

    As a scientist myself who has written or co-authored science papers, I agree with the advice not to get too caught up with research results until they become main stream.


  10. #10
    Angel Girl Guest

    I agree with Odette , statistics mean nothing to me when i'm holding our daughter.. DH and i have a beautiful little girl she's now 21 months and was conceived with ICSI... She was diagnosed with two heart defects at 12mths (well actually they were picked up at birth but at 6 months her peadatrician :evil: told us that they had miraculously dissappeared and being so happy to hear that we didn't pursue it again until it was picked up at 12months by my GP) and had surgery to correct them at 14mths. .. may need further surgery later not sure yet though. She is an absolute joy and despite her problems is a very active little girl. .

    Do we blame ICSI.. we don't really know because my cousin who has a 4 year old daughter was also born with heart defects and she was conceived the old fashioned way.. So i think alot of it here has to do with poor genes... maybe maybe not...

    I guess what i'm trying to say is how many babies did they test from being born with defects after being conceived via IVF or similar may have ended up with birth abnormalities anyway due to heredity ??