A new study has found that babies conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) are more likely to have a congenital disorder than babies conceived naturally.
According to the study, which was presented Oct. 20 by researchers from UCLA at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, the risk of birth defects was much greater for babies born via IVF, especially defects in the heart, urinary systems, reproductive organs and the eyes.
"Our findings included a significant association between the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as certain types of in vitro fertilization, and an increased risk of birth defects," said study author Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon, a surgeon at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, in Los Angeles.
For the study, researchers looked at hospital records for babies born in California between 2006 and 2007, along with vital statistics, the mother's prenatal information and hospital data from the baby's first year of life. They looked at the records for almost 51,000 infants, about 4,800 of whom were conceived via IVF.
Researchers reported that IVF increased the risk of eye defects by 81 percent; congenital heart defects by 41 percent and genitourinary defects by 40 percent.
Overall, researchers found that 9 percent of IVF babies were born with major birth defects compared to 6 percent of babies conceived naturally.