(NaturalNews) If you get your information about assisted reproduction technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) from the mainstream media, you may think these are simply wonderful ways to help infertile couples have healthy babies. In fact, women like Nadya "Octomom" Suleman and Kate Gosselin of reality TV fame have become stars of sort after producing broods of kids using ART. What is rarely reported is the dark side of ART -- high tech baby making procedures result in a significantly increased risk of congenital malformations as well a greater chance for several diseases down the road.
Dr. Geraldine Viot, a clinical geneticist at the Maternity Port Royal hospital in Paris, France, recently addressed the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics to discuss some of these risks. She also pointed out that, at least in France, most doctors working in ART clinics only tell couples about such risks if they are asked specific questions.
The multi-billion dollar medical reproductive technology industry has resulted in the births of millions of kids around the world being conceived through non-natural procedures. In the largest study of its kind so far, Dr. Viot and her colleagues conducted a survey of all ART births -- 15,162 in all -- from 33 clinics in France to document the prevalence of malformations.
500% increased risk of tumors
"We found a major congenital malformation in 4.24 percent of the children compared with the 2 to 3 percent 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," Dr. Viot said in a press statement. "Among the minor malformations, we found a five times higher rate of angioma, benign tumors made up of small blood vessels on or near the surface of the skin."
Moreover, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome --- which is marked by a larger-than-normal baby, abnormally large tongue, hypoglycemia, increased risk for cancer and other problems -- was six times higher among youngsters conceived with ART. And retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye, was 4.5 higher for ART children when compared to youngsters conceived the natural way.
Dr. Viot added that the malformations don't appear to have anything to do with the age of the parents. Instead, the causes of the abnormalities are probably multiple and related specifically to the assisted reproductive technologies. She is calling for researchers to investigate how embryo culture media, timing of embryo transfer, the effects of ovarian stimulation, the use of ICSI and the freezing of gametes and embryos could be causing these disorders.
"We estimate that in France some 200,000 children have been born after ART and therefore a malformation rate of this magnitude is a public health issue. It is important that all doctors and also politicians are informed about this," Dr. Viot emphasized. "At a time when infertility is increasing and more and more couples need to use ART to conceive, it is vitally important that we find out as much as we can about what is causing malformations in these children, not only so that we can try to counteract the problem but also in order for health services to be able to plan for their future needs."
As NaturalNews has previously reported, other researchers have found that children conceived with artificial baby-making techniques have an increased incidence of metabolic problems, such as high blood pressure, abnormally elevated fasting glucose levels and excess body fat (http://www.naturalnews.com/026863_IVF_sperm_...). In addition, a study recently published in the journal Human Reproduction concluded that women who became pregnant with a single fetus after treatment with IVF or ICSI had a four-fold increased risk of their babies being born dead when compared to women who conceived naturally (http://www.naturalnews.com/028448_infertiliy...).