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How Does Fertility Treatment Affect the Babies


Highlights from March 27, 2013 Creating a Family radio show

Research is beginning to come in on how infertility treatment affects the health of the children conceived. Does in vitro fertilization (IVF) or ICSI or artificial insemination cause birth defects, autism, nuero-developmental issues? Is freezing harmful to the children born from frozen embryos? Does Clomid cause harm to the babies? Our guest to help us sort out the often confusing results of this research is Dr.Thomas Molinaro, a reproductive endocrinologist with Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey and a researcher into the health effects of fertility treatment.


Blog summary of the show can be found here.

  • While this show focused on the possible health ramifications of children conceived from fertility treatment, it is important to keep things in perspective and realize that the vast majority of children are not impacted.
  • Research is beginning to come in to help us untangle that chicken-or-egg question we have going on; do infertility treatments raise the risk of birth defects, or is the risk linked to the parent’s infertility itself?
  • We need to focus on not just birth defects, but other health impacts: autism, neuro-developmental disorder, sensory processing disorders, ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, etc?
  • Does maternal use of Clomid (clomiphene citrate) increase the risk of birth defects in the children?
  • Do the ovulatory stimulating medications, such as Gonadotropin, increase the risk of birth defects or other health issues in the children?
  • Does maternal use of other fertility medications have health impacts on the babies conceived?
  • When you take out things such as prematurity due to multiples, complications due to advanced maternal age, and other confounders, is there still a long-term health impact?
  • How do you know if any increased risk in birth defects is associated with the fertility drugs, the fertility treatment used (IVF, ICSI, IUI), the parent's infertility itself, maternal and paternal age, or something else?
  • Have any studies been done on the effect of long term (>10 years) freezing of embryos?
  • What should parents and pediatricians be on the lookout for with children who were conveived through some form of infertility treatment?
  • What are the health risks to the child of being born to an older mother?
  • What are the health risks to the child of being born premature?
  • What are the health risks to the child of being born a twin?
  • Are the health risk to the child greater if the child is born from a frozen embryo?
  • Are the health risks to the child less if born from an embryo created from donor egg?
  • What are the health risks to the infant conceived with ICSI?
  • Are the children of infertile couples more likely to have birth defects or other disorders?
  • Does infertility treatment increase the risk of cancer in the children?
  • Have researchers been able to find a difference in the behavior of children conceived through infertility treatment?
  • Or all births from infertility treatment at increased risk for premature birth?
  • Are children born from infertility treatment at an increased risk for autism or autism spectrum disorders?
  • Are children born from infertility treatment at an increased risk for attention deficit disorder(ADHD)?
  • Are children born from infertility treatment at an increased risk to be infertile when they reach adulthood?

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