IVF, Twins and Risk of Congenital Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shi Wu Wen PhD
Senior Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
University of Ottawa

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies have shown that having a baby as a result of using assisted procedures such as IVF nearly doubles the chance that a baby will have heart problems.

 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: This new research shows that specifically for congenital heart defects, around 85 per cent of the excess risk is related to having twins. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This study provides further support for the practice of limiting the number of embryos transferred during in vitro fertilization and similar techniques. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further research is required, in both Canada and elsewhere, into the effects of IVF and related treatments on the incidence and types of birth defects, and other adverse neonatal outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Globally, this is important as the chance of a twin pregnancy is highly influenced by clinical and patient treatment choices. This trend could be changed by increasing single embryo transfers. This change could be facilitated by patient and clinic behaviour as well as generous public funding system.


Wen SW, Miao Q, Taljaard M, et al. Associations of Assisted Reproductive Technology and Twin Pregnancy With Risk of Congenital Heart Defects. JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.6096




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Last Updated on February 27, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD