IVF Linked To Increased Risk of Congenital Heart Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine - development of the in vitro fertilization procedure” by Solis Invicti is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Paolo Cavoretto MD PhD
San Raffaele Scientific Centre
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department
Milan Italy

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

Response: Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common forms of congenital disorders and a relevant cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality involving about 0.8% of pregnancies. IVF pregnancies are very common nowadays with increasing rates in the developed countries worldwide. There is no consensus in current practice guidelines whether IVF/ICSI conception represents an indication for performing a fetal echocardiogram according to different eminent scientific societies due to differences in the estimations of the risk for CHD in the available literature.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to estimate the risk of CHD in pregnancies conceived by IVF/ICSI procedures. Our study shows that fetuses conceived with IVF/ICSI methods are at an increased risk of CHD, compared to spontaneous conceptions, by about 50-60%.

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

Response: In view of the findings of our study (increased risk of Congenital heart defects in IVF/ICSI) we recommend fetal echocardiography in all pregnancies from IVF/ICSI.

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

Response: Future research should investigate further the causes of this finding in IVF/ICSI pregnancies starting from lab benches to clinical settings. Placental function can be impaired in IVF/ICSI. We believe that this mechanism may be involved in the pathogenesis of Congenital heart defects in these pregnancy due to its role in oxygen and nutrients transfer from mothers to fetuses during cardiogenesis. 

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

Response: The finding of our study deserves further investigation due to heterogeneity of both assisted reproductive technologies procedures and cardiac defects.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


 2017 Nov 22. doi: 10.1002/uog.18932. [Epub ahead of print]

Congenital heart defects in IVF/ICSI pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. 

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