Babies conceived using assisted reproduction technology methods like in vitro fertilization are two to four times more susceptible to certain birth defects, compared with infants born through natural conception, according to a study published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study "Assisted Reproductive Technology and Major Structural Birth Defects" found that use of assisted reproduction technology (ART) "was associated with twice the risk of some types of heart defects, more than twice the risk of cleft lip with or without cleft palate and over four times the risk of certain gastrointestinal defects compared with babies conceived without fertility treatments," according to a CDC Press Release issued Monday. The study, which looked at data from 281 assisted reproduction births and over 14,000 natural births, was published in the medical journal Human Reproduction.
The use of assisted reproduction technology by prospective parents in the U.S. has been on the rise in recent years. Reuters reports that "Many infertile couples turn to in vitro fertilization and about 50,000 such infants are born each year in the United States -- a number that has roughly doubled over the past decade."