Assisted reproduction 'linked to fewer birth defects among older mothers'

18 October 2016

Assisted reproduction techniques have been linked to a lower number of birth defects among babies born to women over the age of 40.

Research from the University of Adelaide analysed data covering all live births recorded in South Australia from 1986 to 2002, including more than 301,000 naturally-conceived births, as well as 2,200 births from in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and almost 1,400 from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

The average prevalence of a birth defect was 5.7 per cent among naturally conceived births, rising to 7.1 per cent for IVF births and 9.9 per cent for the ICSI births, when considered across all age groups.

However, for women aged 40 and older using IVF, the prevalence of birth defects was only 3.6 per cent, compared to 8.2 per cent for natural conceptions.

Professor Michael Davies from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute said: "More research is desperately needed in this area to understand why this is occurring, and whether it could be adapted to both fertile and infertile women in future to prevent birth defects."

Overall, the study indicated that women's ages and methods of conception can affect their risk of birth complications in various ways, with all of these trends requiring further investigation.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)