Fertility Drugs Can Increase the Chance of Birth Defects

August 25, 2012 0 Comments

As soon as pregnancy is confirmed, many women begin to get worried about the last dose of fertility drugs they have taken in. Undeniably, there are rumours claiming that some fertility medications create adverse impact to the health of the babies. What is the truth behind these claims?

Statistics On The Use of Fertility Drugs and Chances of Birth Defects
According to a study conducted in 2008, women who were exposed to a particular fertility drug, Clomiphene, on the first stages of their pregnancy, have 350% risk of having babies with neural birth defects.

In a 1972 study, it was found out that the use of fertility drugs such as pergonal (human menopausal gonadotropin/hMG) and clomid (clomiphene citrate) increases women’s risk of having offspring with Down Syndrome. In one study, it was found out that fertility drugs can increase an offspring’s risk for bifida spina by almost 6 times.

Some doctors would prescribe Femera, a breast cancer drug, to help you get pregnant. Studies show that intake of Femera as a fertility drug increases a pregnant woman’s risk for miscarriage and it can triple her risk baby’s risk for birth defects such as multiple bone malformation, heart diseases and gastrointestinal problems.

Fertility Drugs- What Are They For?
For more than 30 years now, many women have depended highly on fertility drugs just to get pregnant. However, fertility drugs are not just solely designed for women. Men can also take fertility drugs, though it is less common. Most fertility drugs are designed to encourage ovulation while some are meant to increase the number of eggs released and treat miscarriage.

Clomiphene is one of the most widely used fertility drug available on the market today. Basically, clomiphene belongs to the class of ovulatory stimulants which are used to induce ovulation. It helps women who don’t produce eggs but wish to have their own child. However, it was found out that the use of these drugs is associated with congenital malformations, birth defects and fetal abnormalities.

What Are The Abnormalities Associated With Fertility Drugs
After several trials, the following are the top 15 birth abnormalities observed and recorded in infants whose mothers have been exposed to Clomid:

Undescended testicles

Congenital heart lesions

Harelip and cleft palate

Club foot

Down syndrome


Congenital gut lesions


Congenital hip

Patent ductus arteriosus


Arteriovenous fistula


Teratomatous malformation and conjoined twins


Studies On The Effects Of Fertility Drugs
Through the years, there has been a growing commotion about the role of fertility drugs in the development of birth defects. Lots of scientific studies were conducted to determine the truths behind these rumours.

Many studies claim that fertility drugs can actually trigger the development of birth defects. The long years of extensive studies about fertility drugs lead to the conclusion that some fertility drugs are really capable of bringing birth defects to some offspring. However, the insufficiency of data due to small number of cases recorded cannot firmly establish the connection between the use of fertility drugs and birth defects.

Studies revealed that cholesterol plays a vital role in the development of embryonic organs. Fertility drugs such as clomiphene citrate inhibit the production of cholesterol. It actually prevents a certain enzyme from converting desmosterol into cholesterol. Also, many fertility drugs work by increasing the level of estrogen in a woman’s body. However, it was established that the higher level of estrogen in the body results to a reduced amount of cholesterol.

Other Risks Associated With The Intake Of Fertility Drugs
Aside from the risk of having children with birth defects, fertility drugs can also put the mother’s health at risk. It actually increases the risk for multiple births including twins, triplets, and quadruplets and so on. Also, it can trigger the development of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. This occurs when the ovaries are over stimulated and it rarely becomes a life threatening condition, although it can be at times.

The increased risk for multiple pregnancies increases a woman’s risk for premature labour. According to studies, infants born premature are at a greater risk of suffering from health and developmental issues and the risk heightens with each baby born. This simply means that twins have lesser risks compared to triplets.

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