IVF mothers face higher death risk

Research suggests that women who conceive through IVF treatment experience a higher risk of complications during pregnancy, which may result in death.

The risk of pregnant women dying after IVF treatment is more than three times higher than women who conceive naturally, according to a recent study conducted in the Netherlands.

The researchers are calling for improvements surrounding IVF in tracking pregnancies and reporting deaths.

Didi Braat, professor of obstetrics at Radboud University in Nijmegen, who led the research said: ‘Women should be counselled and made aware of the risks they are taking and deaths should be properly reported.’

Braat studied deaths between 1984 and 2008 for the research, identifying that 17 women who had died in pregnancy had undergone IVF treatment, forming a death rate of 42.5% for every 100,000 pregnancies, compared with 12.1 in every 100,000 for women who had conceived naturally.

Around 450 of the 13,000 IVF births in Britain each year are the result of donor eggs, which has been linked to high blood pressure and placenta complications.

Furthermore, the rising age of mothers is also an important factor, with a 50% rise in women over the age of 40 giving birth last year.

Figures collected by the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Enquiries (CMACE) show an upward trend in deaths during childbirth of mothers over the age of 40

But it is not just the mothers that are putting their health at risk. Swedish researchers have revealed an increased risk of cancer in IVF children. The study showed that out of 26,000 children born through IVF, 53 developed cancer in comparison to an estimated 38 cases in a similar group of naturally conceived children.

Finnish studies also suggest babies born through IVF have a raised risk of prematurity and low birth weight.

Professor Bill Ledger, of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said of IVF treatment: ‘These are difficult and risky procedures which should only be undertaken in cases of real infertility by people who have exhausted all other avenues of treatment.’

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