IVF has become extremely common in the United States. But is it completely safe? Are there side effects that could hurt you or your child that you do not know about?
CBS news reports on new information concerning IVF treatment. It might have side effects that many people do not know about.
New information shows an extremely serious side effect of IVF that many people are not aware of before electing to get the treatment to have a baby. The study shows that children who are conceived via assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF, are twice as likely to be born with autism. The experts are not able to completely explain the association yet, but according to a recent study, there is a connection present.
The report was published in The American Journal of Public Health.
How was the study conducted?
Researchers wanted to be comprehensive so they looked at around 6 million children born over the span of 1997 to 2007. The team collected data on 5.9 million California births, including 48,865 infants conceived through assisted reproduction, and 32,922 children with autism. Experts compared the incidence of autism in births that involved advanced infertility treatment and those that did not. They also took into account factors such as the mother’s education and whether the mother had multiple births. The risk found was higher among women over the age of thirty-five.
Peter Bearman, the lead researcher on the study, and a professor of social sciences at Columbia University in New York City commented on his findings to CBS. He said,
“The risk of autism appears to be largely modifiable by restricting IVF to single-embryo transfer. Knowing that one can largely reduce the risk of autism by restricting the procedure to single-egg transfer is important for women who can then make better informed decisions.”
This ties back to physicians properly informing patients. Experts are urging prospective candidates to be their own best advocates by doing much research before coming to a decision.
What is assisted reproductive technology? It incorporates all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled outside of the body. In vitro fertilization is the most popular type of treatment used right now. More than one egg is fertilized in this treatment, which is what can cause multiple births.
As of right now this is the largest study of its kind, to test the connection between autism and IVF. Environmental, genetic and age of mother also might play a role in whether the child develops autism. The CDC defines autism as a group of developmental problems that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
CBS further explains,
“Michael Rosanoff, director of public health research at Autism Speaks, agreed that factors related to birth and maternal age appear to help explain the perceived link between IVF and autism. He said, ‘This study appears to demonstrate a modest but significant effect of assisted reproductive technology on increased autism risk’.”