Parental infertility and cerebral palsy

pregnant lady

Doctors and researchers have known, even if they haven’t understood completely, that children born after IVF or ICSI had a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The question has long been, is it a result of the infertility treatment, the underlying infertility itself, or maybe something else.

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction and conducted by Dr. Jin Laing Zhu from the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the University of Aarhus, Denmark has come to some conclusions. He took a look at the time it takes to achieve pregnancy and the incidences of cerebral palsy. They looked at groups of women who took up to two years to achieve pregnancy. They also looked at babies born in this time frame as a result of IVF/ICSI.

After adjusting for all the variable factors (age, health, education, multiple births, etc.) researchers found there was no significant link between subfertility and incidences of cerebral palsy in children born from spontaneous or unassisted pregnancy.

“Our research enabled us to examine whether untreated subfertility, measured by time to pregnancy, might be the reason for the higher risk of cerebral play after IVF/ICSI. Our results showed that this was not the case because even for couples who took a year or longer to conceive, there was no statistically significant increased risk if they conceived spontaneously,” said Dr. Zhu.

Dr. Zhu stressed that this was a very small percentage of births that received the diagnosis and that potential parents should not be discouraged from utilizing IVF/ICSI to achieve their goal. More research is needed to discover why the phenomenon exists, but until that time, talk to your doctor about your particular health history and concerns in order to give you peace of mind as you create the family you want.

Source: ESHRE, ScienceDaily


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