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
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