Ask the RE: How Safe is IVF?
I am 33 years old with two children conceived naturally and my question is regarding IVF. My husband is pushing for me to agree to do IVF for our last child to ensure the sex of the baby and I am very reluctant. My OB says that for someone who can get pregnant naturally it is not worth the possibility of heightened risk to the baby. She says nothing is absolutely conclusive but that there are greater health risks to the children born via IVF. I was wondering what your view is with respect to what my physician has said, and also with respect to the largest study that has been done on children born via IVF (Swedish study from a few years ago) that showed a greater risk of childhood diseases.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to IVF treatment. However, the first thing to keep in mind is that IVF treatment produces children who are most often just as happy and healthy as babies conceived through traditional methods. There is, however, a slightly elevated risk of birth defects when conceiving through IVF. Although, greater health risks do not mean that a child born through IVF treatment will inevitably have a birth or chromosomal defect. The vast majority of children born through IVF are healthy, with numbers comparable in number to the number of children born through natural births and only a slightly higher percentage of defects in the former category. Those who are looking to conceive should take this into consideration along with the numerous other factors that surround conception.[pq]IVF can be well worth it for the parent that places particular importance on attempting to have a child of a certain gender.[/pq] If the individual only wants one child, or if they have already had multiple children and know that their next will also be their last, choosing the gender through IVF can be an important option. If the parent is interested in the potential of IVF treatment to have a child of a particular gender, then they should open up the conversation with their doctor right away to ensure that everything they need to know is accessible to them, and that the doctor is fully aware of their desires as well as their concerns.
Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, a board certified gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist, is Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and co-director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York.