IVF Past 40 May Reduce Baby’s Birth Defects Risk
Good news for women past 40 who are looking at IVF!
Looks like there is good news for women past 40 who are looking at IVF (in vitro fertilisation) as an option to get pregnant. Recent studies found more favourable biological conditions in IVF, specific to pregnancies in older women than women of the same age who conceived naturally.
How is IVF Done?
Birth Defect Risks
They always tell you to have kids earlier because:
- Better sperm count and sperm quality for the men
- Risks of birth defects for babies conceived naturally and born to mothers over the age of 40
However, women who undergo assisted reproduction also have an increased rate of birth defects compared to women who conceive naturally.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia observed a complete opposite turnaround in women over 40 who conceived by assisted reproduction, although the scientists aren’t able to fully explain their findings.
“There’s something quite remarkable occurring with women over the age of 40 who use assisted reproduction,” says 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 research is based on data of all live births recorded in South Australia from 1986-2002. These include more than 301,000 naturally conceived births, 2200 births from IVF and almost 1400 from ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).
Scientists found that the percentage of birth defects in babies born to mothers over 40 and conceived by IVF was 3.6% compared with 9.4% for women under 30 having conceived by IVF or ICSI. On a global scale, ICSI is used in 70% of cases of infertility and involves inseminating eggs by sperm microinjection.
However, Professor Davies says the research also uncovered that ICSI – which currently accounts for about 70% of all assisted reproduction treatments worldwide – is “particularly adverse if a woman has never had a pregnancy.” These women had a birth defect rate of 11%, compared with 6.2% of women with a previous birth who used ICSI.