The advancement of Assisted Reproductive Techniques has come as a boon for thousands of childless couples who have been able to experience the joy of progeny with these. At the same time, questions have always cropped up about the credibility of these procedures because, after all, they involve fiddling with nature. There are people who are skeptical about the results of culturing a life in a lab dish as in IVF, rather than leaving things to nature.
When it comes to In Vitro Fertilization, the doubt that is harbored by most of the people is whether an IVF baby would be as healthy as a naturally conceived one. Experts have been continually involved in scientific studies to put an end to all the myths related to the physical and cognitive health of IVF babies.
IVF v/s Natural Conception
Before moving on to study the implications of IVF on the overall health of the offspring, it is important to compare the process with natural conception. While nature has chosen the fallopian tubes to be the venue of fertilization of the egg by the sperm, the same happens in a lab dish in an IVF cultured pregnancy. In the next stage of natural pregnancy, the embryo so formed then travels down to the uterus where it gets implanted for pregnancy to take place; on the other hand, the lab prepared embryo(s) in IVF are transferred in the uterus for implantation.
Here it is vital to know that there is no difference between a natural and IVF pregnancy once the embryo implants itself in the uterine lining. Therefore, logically speaking, there is no way that the health of the IVF baby is at risk in comparison to that of a naturally conceived one. Let’s see what the facts and figures have to say!
Are IVF babies at higher health risks?
While there are pre-conceived notions that the “artificial” IVF babies are more likely to fall in high-risk categories, studies have also established that complications such as premature birth, low birth weight and neonatal deaths are more common in IVF cases. Additionally, it has been recognized that the risk of congenital birth defects and neurological disorders (such as autism, learning disability ad language disorders) in IVF children is slightly (not significantly) higher than that for naturally conceived children and those conceived using some other Assisted Reproductive Techniques.
Now the catch is whether the procedure itself is responsible for the elevated risk or are there some other culprits lurking behind the obvious? Researchers believe that factors such as male or female infertility and advanced maternal and paternal ages, rather than the technique itself, can be responsible for the increased health risks in IVF babies. Additionally, the risks are higher in multiple births as compared to singleton pregnancies, and it is well known that specialists transfer multiple embryos in IVF to maximize the chances of pregnancy.
Millions of babies across the globe have been conceived using IVF and a majority of them are healthy in body and mind, which is reassuring enough for people seeking to start a family using the technique. Continual advancement in medical technology and improving IVF protocol for the better (as advising transfer of 1-3 embryos to lower the risk of multiple births) are some steps being adopted to ensure overall health of IVF babies.
Pre-implantation embryo screening is one means adopted for the same . It involves transfer of selective, healthy embryos on the basis of screening conducted on the available ones and eliminating the ones which are likely to have some congenital defects later on. While considering IVF as an option, the patient as well as specialists needs to be aware of various health risks to the mother as well as offspring.
Gaudium IVF is the top IVF clinic in India and is a trusted name for providing advanced fertility treatment and world class facilities for its patients. For getting assistance for an array of reproductive and gynecological issues, along with the expert second opinion from the best infertility specialist Dr Manika Khanna, contact today.