Do Fertility Treatments Increase Risk of Birth Injuries?


Babies conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and certain other fertility treatments may have a significantly higher risk of cerebral palsy and other birth defects, especially those defects that affect the baby’s heart, eyes, urinary system, and reproductive organs. In vitro fertilization raises the risk of having a baby with a birth defect by about 25% compared to babies conceived without assistive technology. The risk of cerebral palsy is especially high — it is twice as high for babies conceived with fertility treatments as it is for babies conceived naturally.

Birth injuries are devastating for both the children who have them and their parents. They often cause life-long impairment and the need for extensive medical care, therapy, and other assistance, such as attendants and special equipment. When a birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for what you and your child have suffered physically, emotionally, and financially. Compensation awards cover current and past expenses and losses. They also cover expected losses and expenses in the future. The birth injury attorneys at Raynes & Lawn have been dedicated for more than 50 years to fighting for life-changing compensation for families who are victims of the mistakes and negligence of doctors and other medical professionals.

Medical professionals have a duty to meet the applicable standards of care. They must practice medicine competently. If they are negligent in diagnosing, treating, or warning patients about known risks, they have committed malpractice. If you had fertility treatments and your doctor did not warn you about the risks of birth defects, you may be entitled to compensation if your baby had a birth injury.

You may also be entitled to compensation if your doctors did not correctly diagnose or treat a birth injury. This is unfortunately common. About 10 percent of babies with cerebral palsy develop the condition due to medical negligence. Doctors may commit negligence by providing the wrong diagnosis, not giving any diagnosis, failing to monitor the mother and fetus sufficiently during pregnancy, failing to conduct necessary tests, prescribing the wrong drug or the wrong dosage of a drug, not monitoring vital signs during labor and delivery, not performing delivery techniques properly, not using equipment or medical machinery correctly, not noticing symptoms of a problem, not providing proper care after the birth, or in any other way not following the proper medically accepted procedures.

Why Do Fertility Treatments Increase the Rate of Birth Injuries?

Research is still going on, but these are some of the reasons for the increased risk of birth defects for babies born with assistive technology:

  • Women who become pregnant using fertility treatments are, on average, older than other pregnant women, and increased maternal age is a risk factor for birth injuries.
  • Men with very low sperm counts have a higher rate of abnormal chromosomes, which can cause birth defects. Couples that use Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) along with IVF have a higher risk of having a child with birth injuries than those using traditional IVF. Because ICSI is used when men have fertility problems, it is believed that the infertility, rather than the treatment itself, is the cause of the higher risk.
  • Couples using IVF to conceive are more likely to have twins or other multiples, and that’s a known risk factor for cerebral palsy.

Doctors have an obligation to discuss these risks with patients who are considering in vitro fertilization and certain other fertility treatments. If you used fertility treatments, your doctor did not warn you of the risks, and your baby was born with a birth injury, you should contact the birth injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn. We have many years of experience getting our clients the compensation they deserve.

Types of Fertility Treatments that Increase the Risk of Birth Injuries

Several types of fertility treatments are known to increase the risk of a baby being born with birth defects. If you used any of these, your doctor should have warned you of the risks:

In vitro fertilization (IVF): In IVF, fertilization takes place in a laboratory. In traditional IVF, a large number of sperm are placed near an egg in a dish. Babies born via traditional IVF have a 7.2% risk of having a birth defect, compared to a 5.8% risk for babies born without fertility treatments.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): ICSI is a type of IVF where a single sperm is injected with a needle into an egg. When ICSI is used, the risk of a baby having a birth defect rises to 9.9%.

Clomiphene citrate (Clomid): When Clomid is used to induce ovulation, and if this is done outside of a doctor’s office, the risk of birth defects triples.

Some types of fertility treatments, including artificial insemination, do not appear to significantly increase the risk of birth defects.

Find a Birth Injury Lawyer

The award-winning birth injury attorneys in the law firm of Raynes & Lawn have the experience, dedication, and passion to get our clients the compensation they deserve for the harm that has been done to them by negligent doctors. We offer a free consultation where we provide you with an honest evaluation of your claim, including whether your case is winnable and what you might expect in compensation.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to sue doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, midwives, other medical staff, hospitals, birth centers, and medical equipment manufacturers.

There are time limits for when you can bring a claim for medical malpractice. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your chance forever to get compensation. These time limits vary by state. Our attorneys can tell you what the deadline is for your location.

To schedule a free consultation, call us at our toll-free number, (800) 535-1797, or contact us on our website by filling out our simple form. We will provide you with a case evaluation that will help you understand your legal rights and what your options are for your next step in seeking justice.

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