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Children born after assisted reproduction at greater risk of congenital malformations
Date:6/13/2010

Gothenburg, Sweden: Couples considering undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment should be informed about the increased risk of congenital malformation posed by the use of ART, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics will hear today (Monday). Dr. Graldine Viot, a clinical geneticist at the Maternit Port Royal hospital, Paris, France, will say that she believed that most doctors working in ART clinics in France only told couples about such risks if they were asked specific questions.

Dr. Viot and colleagues conducted a survey in 33 French centres registered for ART, around one third of the total number of clinics registered to perform ART procedures in France. All ART births from these clinics from 2003 to 2007 were included; 15 162 children in total. The study was the largest to date on this subject. Questionnaires were completed both by the parents and the paediatrician and the prevalence of malformations found compared with the data obtained from national registers and in published papers.

"We found a major congenital malformation in 4.24% of the children", said Dr. Viot, "compared with the 2-3% that we had expected from previous published studies. This higher rate was due in part to an excess of heart diseases and malformations of the uro-genital system. This was much more common in boys. Among the minor malformations, we found a five times higher rate of angioma, benign tumours made up of small blood vessels on or near the surface of the skin. These occurred more than twice as frequently in girls than boys."

However, the scientists say, their results are a long way from the 11% of major malformations that have been reported by some studies. "Given that our study is the largest to date, we think that our data are more likely to be statistically representative of the true picture", said Dr. Viot.

The average age of the parents of children born with malformations was not
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society of Human Genetics
Source:Eurekalert

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