Congenital malformations with ART at 4.24%

baby girl

For potential parents considering using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to help them solve fertility challenges, being informed of the increased chance for congenital malformations is a must. At the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, Dr. Geraldine Viot, a clinical geneticist at the Maternite Port Royal hospital in Paris, will say that she believes most doctors working in ART clinics withhold this vital information from clients unless they specifically ask.

Her alarm is based on a recent study she and her colleagues conducted. The survey included 33 French centers registered for ART -- roughly one third of the registered clinics in that country. About 15,162 children were studied, born between 2003 and 2007. It’s the largest study to date on the condition of children born through ART.

Major congenital malformations were found in 4.24% of the children. That is slightly higher than the 2-3% reported in other recent studies. Included in the conditions discovered were an excess of heart diseases and malformations of the uro-genital system, especially in boys. “Among the minor malformations, we found a five times higher rate of angioma, benign tumors made up of small blood vessels on or near the surface of the skin. These occurred more than twice as frequently in girls than boys,” explained Dr. Viot.

“We estimate that in France some 200,000 children have been born after ART and therefore a malformation rate of this magnitude is a public health issue. It is important that all doctors and also politicians are informed about this. We also need to follow up all children born after ART and to put much more effort into trying to understand which of the procedures involved is implicated in this problem,” said Dr. Viot.

She then went to the heart of the issue, “At a time when infertility is increasing and more and more couples need to use ART to conceive, it is vitally important that we find out as much as we can about what is causing malformations in these children, not only so that we can try to counteract the problem but also in order for health services to be able to plan for their future needs.”

Source: European Society of Human Genetics, Medical News Today


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