News & Publications

ASRM and SART Comment on NEJM Article

May 7 , 2012
by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Bulletin Volume 14, Number 26

A paper published today in the New England Journal of Medicine noted an increased incidence of birth defects in ART-conceived children.  ASRM and SART responded.

Statement Attributable to Linda Giudice MD, PhD, President-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM):

“This study confirms what has been known for quite some time: Patients who need medical assistance to conceive have a somewhat higher risk of having children with birth defects than parents able to conceive on their own.  Patients considering medically assisted conception have been, and should continue to be, counseled on those risks prior to undergoing any treatment.”

Statement attributable to Glenn Schattman, MD, President of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART):

“It is important to note that women with a history of infertility who did not undergo ART treatments also had a higher increase of having children with birth defects. This combined with the finding that those using ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) also had slightly elevated risks of birth defects suggest that  the underlying problem that led them to seek medical assistance in the first place is likely contributing to the elevated risk of birth defects in their children.

Some results in this study are reassuring for patients: in cycles not including ICSI, the adjusted odds ratio for IVF conceived children did NOT show a significant difference in birth defects children born following embryo freezing had no higher risk of birth defects than naturally conceived children.

These are interesting and important findings and we will need much more research to allow us to help patients overcome their infertility with treatments that are as safe as possible for them and the children born from the treatments.”

NEJM reference:  Davies MJ et al. Reproductive technologies and the risk of birth defects.  N Engl J Med 2012:doi 10.1056/NEJMoa1008095

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Sean Tipton
Phone: 202-863-2494


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