New Research Links In Vitro Fertilization to Developmental Complications in Children

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a godsend for many women who struggle getting pregnant, but new research has found that it could increase the risk of health complications for their children.

According to the Huffington Post, two studies that were recently published in the medical journal Pediatrics indicate that women who opt for IVF may be more likely to have children with certain cancers or developmental delays.

While this new information is troubling, the studies’ authors maintain that the findings are preliminary and should not deter women from trying IVF if they are struggling to conceive a child.

“At this point in time, we don’t believe the weight of the available evidence is strong enough to suggest that women should not proceed with assisted reproductive technology,” said Melissa Bondy, an oncology researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Both studies did find a link between IVF and developmental issues, but the researchers added that these complications may be due to the advanced maternal age of some women who use assisted reproductive technology.

Fertility starts to decline for women at the age of 30, dropping even more steeply after the age of 35. When this happens, many women seek help from their doctors to find a solution.

IVF is much more common among women in their 30s and 40s, which could explain the increased prevalence of complications in children conceived this way. However, the technology has been linked to a 67% higher risk of childhood leukemia among all IVF patients, regardless of how old a mother is at the time of conception.

The studies paint a grim picture of IVF, but other research is also being done to decrease health risks for women and their children.

According to Daily RX News, the Endocrine Society recently announced that eating soy products on a regular basis could improve the success rate of infertility treatments.

The link between soy products and high IVF success rates is based in soy’s ability to counter the effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in many food containers and plastic water bottles.

As for the studies published in Pediatrics, there is a silver lining for women considering IVF. One of the studies’ authors, Dr. Hafsatou Diop of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, claims that women still have some control over their fertility as they grow older.

“It is important to achieve and maintain optimal health prior to conception — this includes stopping smoking and drinking, reducing stress, maintaining a normal weight for height, and eating well,” Diop said.

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