Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon, a general surgery resident at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, who conducted the research at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, said the study involved infants born in California from 2006 to 2007.
"Our findings included a significant association between the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as certain types of IVF, and an increased risk of birth defects," Kelley-Quon, the study author, said in a statement.
Overall, 3,463 infants with major birth defects were identified among 4,795 infants born via IVF and 46,025 naturally conceived infants with similar maternal demographics.
Birth defects were significantly increased for infants born after IVF -- 9 percent versus 6.6 percent for naturally conceived infants -- even after controlling for maternal factors.
However, the risk of birth defects after other fertility treatments such as artificial insemination or ovulation induction alone were not significant.
"For parents considering in vitro fertilization or other forms of assisted reproductive technology, it is important that they understand and discuss with their doctor the potential risks of the procedure before making a decision," Kelley-Quon said.
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
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