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Some Fertility Treatments Linked to Higher Risk of Birth Defects
Researchers found that 8.3 percent of the children whose conception was helped along by doctors developed a birth defect, compared with 5.8 percent of the children who were conceived naturally and spontaneously. After adjusting for demographic and other factors that could influence the calculations, the researchers found that using ART was associated with a 28 percent increased risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Though the raw data indicated that IVF was linked with an increased risk in birth defects, after statistical adjustments the increase was no longer significant (that is, the difference could have been due to random chance). The story was different for another ART technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI. It involves injecting a single sperm into an egg, and is often used to overcome male factor infertility. Babies born this way had a 57 percent increased risk of developing a birth defect compared with babies born to fertile women, even after accounting for demographic and other influential factors.