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06-06-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

IVF/ICSI may increase infant risk for congenital heart defects


Free abstract

MedWire News: Infants conceived using IVF and/or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are more likely to suffer a congenital heart defect than infants conceived naturally, show Canadian study results.

Shi Wu Wen (University of Ottowa Faculty of Medicine) and colleagues matched 809 women who conceived using IVF/ICSI with 1505 women who conceived naturally. They compared adverse maternal outcomes such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and adverse infant outcomes including major birth defects such as congenital heart defects, and gastrointesinal and chromosomal anomalies.

Overall, 1.1 percent of babies conceived using IVF/ICSI had congenital heart defects compared with 0.4 percent of babies conceived naturally.

The researchers adjusted these results for potential confounding factors, and observed that congenital heart defects were 4.6 times more likely among IVF/ICSI-conceived babies than their naturally conceived counterparts.

“A particularly interesting finding was that for women with a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m2, the risk for congenital heart defects was substantially higher in those conceived by IVF/ICSI (3.62 percent) than those who were conceived naturally (0 percent), while for women with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or less, only moderately increased risk for a cardiovascular anomoly was observed,” write Wen et al.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy