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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  March 13, 2004
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Artificially Conceived Babies at Risk
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Babies conceived through artificial methods face a much higher risk of complications and death during delivery than babies conceived naturally, according to new research.

The study shows the risks are different for single births compared to twins. In births involving a single baby, artificially conceived babies are twice as likely to be born prematurely, and their death rates are significantly higher than naturally conceived infants. For artificially conceived twins, there are higher counts of intensive care admissions, premature and Caesarean delivery rates, and lower live birth rates. However, mortality rates are about 40-percent lower for artificially conceived twins compared to twins conceived without medical help.

The researchers write that since the rate of premature delivery for artificially conceived single babies is twice that of naturally conceived infants, assisted reproduction is as much a predictor for preterm birth as history of preterm birth. They say the reasons are still unclear, but it appears that assisted twin pregnancies may actually start off with a relative advantage over single-birth pregnancies.

Frans Helmerhorst and colleagues write that whatever the explanation may be, babies born to women through artificial means are "significantly disadvantaged" compared with other newborns. They say women undergoing assisted reproduction should be informed of these increased risks.

They conclude that 25 years after the first baby was conceived by in vitro fertilization, the focus needs to now shift from achieving pregnancy to achieving a successful birth. Also, they say more work needs to be done to reduce the risks for babies conceived with medical help.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, published online Jan. 23, 2004

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