Experts from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford have warned that pregnancies, which result from IVF techniques, carry higher risk of complications and multiple births. There was an increased risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight and congenital abnormality in pregnancy conceived through IVF technique, stated a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The advancement in fertility research has made it possible for infertile couples to have children even in older age. Fertility experts believe that the vast majority of children born through IVF were as healthy as those born naturally. The associated risks of IVF pregnancies were evaluated by the Royal College’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
In its report, the committee stated the risk was directly associated with the number of fetuses and the IVF technique seemed to twice the risk of twins. About one in four of all IVF pregnancies result in a multiple birth owing to the common practice of replacing two or three embryos.
Besides, there was also a twenty-three percent increased risk of premature birth, but the risk remained low. IVF pregnancies still exhibit an increased risk of low birth weight. Cleft lips, heart defects and other congenital abnormalities are also common in IVF pregnancies.
Generally, among all births, about five percent of infants were diagnosed with an anomaly, but about a third of IVF babies more prone to suffer a problem. In later years of life there was no difference in development of the brain, language and behavior and these three seems to have little impact by reaching the age of twelve.
Lead author Prof Jenny Kurinczuk, director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, stated IVF pregnancies carry an increased risk of poor birth outcomes and complications. Nonetheless most of the children born following IVF will have a good outcome just like any other children.
The poor birth outcomes and complications may be a combination of treatment and underlying characteristics of the couple such as older maternal age. However, treatment approaches can be changed to improve results such as the adoption of elective single embryo transfer, concluded Prof Kurinczuk.