As people trying to conceive with assistance know, there's no shortage of things to be anxious about. At the top of the list is the question, do fertility drugs cause birth defects? This is a serious question and so too, has a complex answer. CBS News reported that there are approximately 3.7 million babies born yearly with assisted conception. Of all these babies, how many were born with birth defects? TheNew York Times noted an Australian study in 2012 that examined rates of birth defects among babies born via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). But before I get into the results, you need to read on.
Here comes the complicated part about studies involving infertility. It's not easy to figure out if babies born from assisted conception developed birth defects because of fertility drugs used during treatment, or due to other factors that make women likely to undergo assistance, like age and other health factors. There is well-documented research that associates smoking while pregnant with serious birth defects. Respectively, women over 40 trying to conceive are at risk for many birth-related complications, whether they use fertility drugs or not, according to CNN. The data, however, is changing as more and more women are opting to become mothers later in life, and more research studies are being conducted. With increased research into infertility, doctors will be able to isolate what factors increase what risks. But before you read any further, I can't stress enough how the most important thing to remember is that each woman is different and only a reproductive endocrinologist can advise on the risks of birth defects.