Article: Risk of CHD Higher Among IVF Twins

by Kathy on March 5, 2008 · 2 comments

in CHD, FET #1, Molly, Sean

We’ll be heading out shortly for our appointment, but I thought I would share this in the meantime…

Sean and I had a play date with a friend and her kids yesterday afternoon. She mentioned seeing a story recently on one of our local TV news networks about the potential connection between women who conceive through IVF and then go on to have a child who has Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). She told me in the story they said they have only found an increased risk with IVF twins. Anyway, having wondered about this myself, I did a Google search and found the following article. I should also mention that at our first appointment with Molly’s perinatal cardiologist that we asked if there was a connection between IVF and CHD. She said that the simple answer is no, however that she had heard that there could be an increased risk (she didn’t have any statistics) of CHD in pregnancies there were achieved through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which includes IUI, IVF and FET. So anyway, I found this article reassuring that it is highly unlikely that there is any connection between how we conceived her. We already believed this, but it is still nice to know that there is research that now shows this.

Risk of Congenital Heart Defects Higher Among IVF Twins

Source: Yale School of Medicine
Date: Tue, 5 February 2008

The prevalence of congenital heart disease (CHD) among in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancies is similar to that of the general population, but there is an increased risk of CHD among twins resulting from IVF, according to research by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

Mert Ozan Bahtiyar, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, presented the abstract at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

“We found that twin pregnancies conceived through IVF have a higher prevalence of CHD than singletons,” said Bahtiyar, noting the group found a three-fold increase. “IVF twins are usually fraternal, but past studies of identical twins also showed up to a 13-fold increase in congenital heart defects.

“Working with the Fetal Cardiovascular Center at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, a central referral center for the State of Connecticut, Bahtiyar and his colleagues examined almost 2,000 patients using fetal echocardiography. Among those patients, 250 women were pregnant as a result of in vitro fertilization. They did not have other medical problems that would require echocardiograms. Approximately 30 per cent of these women had twin pregnancies.

Bahtiyar said that previous reports of increased CHD risk in pregnancies conceived via IVF might be due, in part, to a higher frequency of multiple pregnancies resulting from this form of conception. “The increased twinning seems to be the cause of the abnormality and not IVF per se.”

Bahtiyar and his team plan to do a larger study with more women.

“The next step is to explore why this is happening,” he said. “Knowing about the risk of these defects will help increase the likelihood of a child’s survival after birth.”

Other authors on the study included Antonette T. Dulay, Bevin P. Weeks, Alan H. Friedman and Joshua A. Copel.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fertilized March 5, 2008 at 3:22 pm

That is interesting. My spin on it is – more people are having to do (or having an opportunity) to ART now than past decades. Which means there are more pregnancies via ART – anyone taken that into consideration? ..Interesting


2 Kathy March 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Your spin certaining makes sense Farah and I know there are other studies related to this topic, which I would be interested in knowing more about. I mentioned this study to our perinatal cardiologist last Wednesday and she had not heard about it. She also insisted that they have found links to CHD and IVF even in singleton pregnancies, but didn’t have statistics or details to share. That said, she also doesn’t think we should be concered about trying again someday with our frozen embryos, if we are given the green light down the road. So who knows?!


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