There has been much coverage across the media today about a new study which apparently shows that IVF babies are ‘twice as likely’ than naturally conceived babies to have malformations and defects.
Behind these sensationalised headlines, the study conducted by scientists in France found there was a small increased risk to babies born through assisted conception.
Just over 4% of the 15,000 children they studied, who had all been born as a result of treatment in fertility centres, had a major congenital malformation – compared to the 2-3% expected rate from previous published studies of the general population.
The scientists behind the study are now calling for more research to find out exactly what could be causing these issues in some children, and which part of the treatment process may be the cause.
However, what’s important is to put this into perspective. When you look at the figures, the risks are still incredibly small.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has already been quick to respond to this study, saying there is no need for alarm.
Research of this kind is constantly kept under review, and where there may be increased risks this should be shared with patients undergoing fertility treatment, in a clear way, so that they understand the risks associated with their treatment choice.
At Manchester Fertility, we make sure all of our patients are kept fully informed before treatment and are made well aware if there’s any risks they should know about.
But like the HFEA says, there is no need to panic. When studies such as this are published, it’s important to remember that a great many children are born through assisted conception without any problems at all.