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Children that were conceived with the help of invitro fertilization (IVF) do not have a higher risk of being born with birth defects, a new large-scale study of Chinese kids concluded. Chinese researchers, who were concerned about earlier research that indicated that IVF children may have a higher rate of birth defects compared to the general population looked at over 15,000 babies. The outcome was very positive IVF-lings were found to have similar birth defect rates as babies born without artificial fertility techniques.

A group of researches from the Shandong University in Jinan, lead by Dr Junhao Yan, gathered records of 14,405 children who were born between 2004 and 2008. They looked at the records filled in by birth attendants, and set out to discover if IVF increases the risk of birth defects. They found that 189 children in the IVF group, which amounted to 1.23 percent, were born with one birth defect or another. Compared to them, the children in the non-IVF group had 1.35 percent rate of birth defects. Children that were conceived through ICSI, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, had a 1.58 percent birth defect rate. While this is slightly higher than the other two groups, the researchers concluded that it was statistically insignificant and could have been due to chance.

Furthermore, the research team from Shandong University did not find any differences in the patterns of birth defects when looking at children conceived with the help of fertility treatments and the rest of the population. The number of heart defects, neurological disorders, and other disabilities like additional toes, were similar in both groups. What do you think about this new study and its significance? Do you think the data provided by birth attendants is accurate? I have no idea what tests Chinese hospitals perform on newborns to determine whether they have any birth defects. While the study is interesting, I am having a hard time taking it at face-value. How about you?

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