A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia shows that twins born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are four times more likely to develop congenital heart disease. Professor Michael Davies of the Robinson Institute at the University of Adelaide is involved in a new study with global implications, analysing the birth of more than half a million babies in Ontario, Canada.
Studies have shown that babies born with assistive procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease as babies born normally. The study also found that about 85 percent of congenital heart disease risk is associated with twins.
Professor Davies said: “Twins appear to have a double the risk of heart disease compared to having a child. Globally, this is important because the chances of a twin pregnancy are highly influenced by clinical and patient treatment options. “
It is reported that 4% of couples are currently pregnant using IVF technology, and has been on the rise. Multiple embryo transfers, on the other hand, increase the chances of conception, but at the same time increase the chances of twins being born by 10 times.
In North America, 20 per cent of IVF babies are twins, compared with 4 per cent in Australia. But 15 out of every 1000 Australian births are born with a congenital heart defect, and heart disease is now the world’s leading cause of death.
The researchers say our findings are particularly important because the additional risks of concincting twins through in vitro fertilization can be prevented. Further support is also provided to limit the number of embryos transferred in in vitro fertilization and similar techniques.