IVF cuts birth defects risk for older mothers

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IVF: Fewer birth defects for older mothers conceiving in this way.

A STUDY has found that women aged 40 or over are less likely to have babies with birth defects if they conceive by IVF.

Older women have a higher risk of babies with conditions such as Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy, but a study’s findings suggest that IVF children born to older women have less than half the risk of birth abnormalities than those conceived naturally.

The study looked at births in South Australia from 1986 to 2002 and found birth defects in 3.6 per cent of babies born to women aged 40-plus using IVF. This compared with 5.7 per cent for all naturally conceived births.

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The researchers said this implies a previously ‘undescribed protective mechanism’ but could only speculate as to why. The findings cannot be attributed to the use of donor eggs from younger women as this was excluded from the study. 

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