Risk of congenital heart defects associated with assisted reproductive technologies: a population-based evaluation

Eur Heart J. 2011 Feb;32(4):500-8. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq440. Epub 2010 Dec 7.


Aims: To estimate the risk of congenital heart defects (CHD) associated with assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Methods and results: We used data from the Paris Registry of Congenital Malformations on 5493 cases of CHD and 3847 malformed controls for which no associations with ART were reported in the literature. Assisted reproductive technologies included inductors of ovulation only, in vitro fertilization, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Exposure to ART was higher for cases than controls (4.7 vs. 3.6%, P= 0.008) and was associated with a 40% increase in the maternal age, socioeconomic factors, and year of birth-adjusted odds of CHD without chromosomal abnormalities [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-1.7]. Assisted reproductive technologies were specifically associated with significant increases in the odds of malformations of the outflow tracts and ventriculoarterial connections (adjusted OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.4) and of cardiac neural crest defects and double outlet right ventricle (adjusted OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.7). In general, we found specific associations between methods of ART and subcategories of CHD.

Conclusion: Cases with CHD were more likely to have been conceived following ART when compared with malformed controls. This higher risk for CHD varied specifically according to the method of ART and the type of CHD and may be due to ART per se and/or the underlying infertility of couples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Maternal Age
  • Paris / epidemiology
  • Registries
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors