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Birth Defects Risk Rise with Fertility Treatment

Babies conceived through in vitro fertilization or 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.

That's according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers analyzed more than 300-thousand births in Australia and found the risk of birth defects to be 26 percent higher with IVF than with natural, or unassisted, conception.

Roughly 18 thousand babies in the study were born with one or more birth defects, like cerebral palsy or heart abnormalities.

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 she may have experienced before or during pregnancy.


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