Do Infertitlity Treatments Increase the Risk of Birth Defects?

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According to a study released Monday, the answer is a firm yes. In the first study done to date on the link between infertility treatments and birth defects, it was found that children resulting from such treatments were two to four times more likely to suffer from defects such as heart abnormalities, cleft palates and lips and gastrointestinal issues. The good news? The birth defects are correctable via surgery (how can that be GOOD news?). In another study it was estimated that as many as 12% of U.S. women were treated for infertility. As many as 1% of births are the result of infertility treatments and 52,000 babies are born from them--twice the number of live births a decade ago. As with any procedure, there is some risk involved. Those in charge of the study suggested the findings would be useful and important information for anyone considering an infertility procedure.

What the study was unable to uncover was why the risk of defect increases with the use of infertility treatments-a question I'd think any parent to be would like to have some sort of answer to before undergoing a procedure. Women who are unable to conceive naturally, however, are taking the risk as the alternative is not being able to conceive a child at all. I can certainly understand that, as there is risk in anything we do, as potential parents or just people in general.

Getting pregnant can be risky, as can carrying a baby, going into labor, and, goodness gracious--BECOMING A PARENT! Still, it's good to know studies are being done and information is being made available--what little of it there is--for would-be parents going through the process. Hopefully, this study will spur others to try to uncover why the link may exist between infertility treatments and defects so we can resolve that issue as well. Amazing what science can do, no?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.