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In Vitro Fertilization May Cause Bladder Defects in Babies

Rare urological problems cropping up in these infants

FRIDAY, March 21, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A group of rare urological defects, including bladder development outside the body, may be more common in children conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

However, researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center caution that these are preliminary findings and shouldn't dissuade couples from considering IVF. The study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Urology.

The Hopkins team collected information on 78 children with cloacal-bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex treated at the center from 1998 to 2001. They found these birth defects are seven times more common in children conceived through IVF.

The condition includes defects of the bladder, pelvic bones, urethra and genitals. It occurs in about four of every 100,000 live births.

"What we are seeing now is simply an association between this group of birth defects and IVF births," senior author Dr. John P. Gearhart says in a news release.

"Further research is needed to verify these findings and understand this association. These defects are extremely rare, and our preliminary findings should not alone discourage couples from undergoing IVF," he adds.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about bladder exstrophy.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, news release, March 18, 2003
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