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Could Fertility Drugs Make Kids Shorter?
Date:6/24/2012

By Barbara Bronson Gray
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- For those who need help getting pregnant, the thought of having a child who's a little shorter than other kids probably won't be much of a worry. But the question of whether infertility treatment causes unanticipated consequences remains fertile ground for researchers.

In a study scheduled for presentation Saturday at the Endocrine Society annual meeting in Houston, researchers found full-term children conceived with fertility drugs were about one inch shorter than their peers.

The researchers wanted to find out whether there was a difference in height among children whose mothers used only ovarian stimulation by fertility drugs such as Clomid (clomiphene) without in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Children conceived with the help of ovarian stimulation alone account for about 5 percent of all births in the developed world, according to the researchers.

Previous studies have suggested that children conceived by IVF may be taller than naturally conceived kids. The researchers wanted to know if something in the process of IVF, which includes fertilization and culture of embryos in a laboratory dish, could affect stature. So they studied children conceived without IVF, but with the assistance of fertility drugs that cause ovulation.

"The challenge in doing research like this is that in general the people who come to infertility clinics have been trying to get pregnant for multiple years," said Dr. Valerie Baker, medical director at the Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medical Center, in Palo Alto, Calif. "These people often have serious medical problems. So it's possible that the issue is not the fertility treatment, but something going on with people who have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year without success," she said. Baker was not involved in the study.

The researchers, led by Dr. Tim Savage, a p
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