IVF and the Risk of Birth Defects

IVF and the Risk of Birth Defects

Those who have tried to conceive and failed multiple times will know how it feels to watch their world crumple around them. Having a baby is no less than a dream for many people and to see dreams shatter can be destructive. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Thankfully though, science has made a number of advancements and has come up with numerous treatments for infertility. Treatments may include fertility drugs, artificial insemination, and so on. If these fail, the most complex treatment is recommended, which is the IVF or In Vitro Fertilization.

This treatment is the only hope of having a baby for many couples. Even though there is no guarantee of successful birth through IVF, couples are willing to take their chances and spend copious amounts of money. However, the success rate is not the only thing to consider when it comes to IVF.

IVF treatment vs. normal pregnancy

Numerous studies have shown that IVF comes with its own package of risks. In the past a number of cases have shown that birth defect risks are high when couples give birth through IVF treatment. In comparison to normal pregnancies and birth, the risk of a few birth defects is significantly higher when IVF is carried out.

Researchers say that the risk is 37% greater. Birth defects are caused in 3% of the total babies born through normal means and the percentage of birth defects in babies born through IVF is 4%. However, couples are ready to take their chances with the risk and the fact that there is no guarantee, as aforementioned.

Remember here that birth defects need not always be severe. The chances of a baby being born with untreatable birth defects are very slight. Some birth defects are actually mild and can be overcome easily. Other birth defects may be severe but they can be treated too.


Whatever the risks may be and whatever the chances may be, it is important for the fertility specialists to be honest and clear with their patients. Disclosure is very important. Once you know your odds, you will be able to make an informed decision.

If you are really desperate to have a baby, the risks will most likely not affect your choices but it is always good to know ahead what to expect than to face shocks later on. Also, you will have the chance to opt out of it beforehand.

Another advantage of disclosure is that the health care providers will be on the safe side and they won’t be sued for malpractice if there is any birth defect in the baby. Hence, being honest with the patients is important. As a patient, you can ask as many questions as you want just to be sure. You don’t need to worry about anything. The more questions you ask, the more will you be aware.

No pregnancy is devoid of risk

Before making a decision, know that no pregnancy is devoid of risk. Whether it is through natural means or through IVF, every pregnancy has its won risks. Many couples have babies with birth defects but did that knowledge stop them from conceiving? No.

Educate yourself

In order to dial down the risk chances, it is important to know what may increase the risk. Educating yourself is important so that you can significantly reduce the chances of any defects. You may need to make a few lifestyle changes such as ceasing smoking and alcohol abuse and eating right. Such small changes can make a big difference.

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Maureen Stephens, BS, RN
Maureen Stephens, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.