IVF may cut birth risks for older mums

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

BA­BIES con­ceived nat­u­rally and born to mothers over the age of 40 are ex­posed to higher risks of birth de­fects than those born to younger mothers.

Women who un­dergo as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion also have an in­creased rate of birth de­fects com­pared to women who con­ceive nat­u­rally.

How­ever, against all ex­pec­ta­tions, re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide in Aus­tralia ob­served a sur­pris­ing in­verse phe­nom­e­non in women over 40 who con­ceived by as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion.

“There’s some­thing quite re­mark­able oc­cur­ring with women over the age of 40 who use as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion,” says study lead au­thor Pro­fes­sor Michael Davies from the Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide’s Robin­son Re­search In­sti­tute, “[our find­ings] show that in­fer­tile women aged 40 and over who used as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion had less than half the rate of birth de­fects of fer­tile women of the same age, while younger women ap­pear to be at an el­e­vated risk.”

The sci­en­tists stud­ied more than 301,000 nat­u­rally con­ceived births, 2,200 IVF births and al­most 1,400 births from in­tra­cy­to­plas­mic sperm in­jec­tion (ICSI), recorded be­tween 1986 and 2002.

The av­er­age preva­lence of birth de­fects was 5.7% among ba­bies con­ceived nat­u­rally, 7.1% for ba­bies con­ceived by IVF and 9.9% for ba­bies con­ceived by ICSI.

Among ba­bies con­ceived nat­u­rally, the cor­re­spond­ing preva­lence of birth de­fects was 5.6% for young women, ris­ing to 8.2% for women aged 40 and over.

The re­searchers sug­gest that hor­monal stim­u­la­tion, a pre­lim­i­nary treat­ment phase for as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion, could help re­verse the age-re­lated de­cline in ovu­la­tion. – AFP-Re­laxnews

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