“For couples considering IVF, new research suggesting that it could be to blame for a rise in birth defects over the last 25 years might give pause for thought. The study, published last week in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, had two crucial — and related — findings.
The first was that in 14 countries across Europe there was a 50% rise in the number of multiple births between 1984 and 2007, most of which were ascribed by researchers to the increasing use of high-tech fertility treatments. Secondly, in the same period, the rate of birth defects among these babies almost doubled, from 5.9 to 10.7 per 10,000 births.
Specialists also say that IVF is now resulting in fewer multiple births, which are associated with premature delivery, low birth weight and serious health problems, including cerebral palsy and behavioural difficulties.