Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Couples with fertility problems pass on higher health risks to children?

Antony Blackburn-Starza, Progress Educational Trust

[BioNews, London] Research presented at the recent annual conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests that couples with fertility problems pass on higher health risks to their children than do normally conceiving couples. The findings, given by Professor Mary Croughan from the University of California, US, showed that for children born to parents with fertility complications, the likelihood of developing health problems by the age of six rose by nearly a third, when compared to children conceived without difficulty.

The research indicated that infertility treatments, such as IVF, may influence the increase of risk. But as the phenomenon also occurred in couples who previously underwent infertility treatment but later conceived naturally, Professor Croughan is pointing to the health risks that cause infertility as a 'baseline risk' rather than suggesting that infertility treatments are creating health problems in children. 'What has caused them to be unable to conceive goes on to cause problems', she said. There was also no variance between the different types of fertility treatment and the link to increased health risk of children in the study.

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