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Health Agencies Update
December 18, 2002

Possible IVF–Birth Defect Link

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JAMA. 2002;288(23):2959. doi:10.1001/jama.288.23.2959

For the first time, researchers think that infants born via in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be at risk for a birth defect, specifically Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS), characterized by, among other features, an enlarged tongue and a predisposition for rare cancers.

According to a spokesperson for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, IVF does not result in a higher-than-normal rate of birth defects. However, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health presents epidemiological and biological evidence of just such a link.

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