ICSI Children As Guinea Pigs?

A Belgian study published back in 2000 in Fertility and Sterility discovered that around 1 in 100 women candidates for ICSI and IVF had chromosomal defects. This rate is 7 times that of the general population.

A second study published in 2010 in Journal of Urology found that 8% of infertile men have chromosomal defects, a rate 20 times that of the rate for these defects in healthy, fertile males.

Darwinian Theory

Looking at these findings, one sees evidence of the correctness of Darwinian Theory. In evolution, men and women who carry imperfect genetic makeup are infertile so as not to hand down these inherited defects to the coming generation. This is the natural solution to the problem of how to prevent flawed organisms from reproducing when they are carrying inherited chromosomal errors.

Us? Railroaded?

But humans weren't going to allow themselves to be railroaded into this type of thinking and so we came up with our own ways to get past this evolutionary mechanism.

The development of the IVF and ICSI techniques meant that a large number of babies were born to people aching to be parents, who might never have borne children without these hi-tech solutions. However, these two techniques differ from other types of medical interventions in that there is no way to test how they will affect the offspring they generate; at least not until those babies have been born. Have we, as a society, created a first generation of human guinea pigs to test the safety of IVF and ICSI? 

Lest anyone think this is an overstatement of the situation, let's look at the facts. Children born as a result of IVF and ICSI, like their parents, have higher rates for harboring abnormal chromosomes. The birth defects that result from these techniques include swapped or missing chromosomes and having too many sex chromosomes.

At present, the medical community believes that the higher rates for genetic errors in the children resulting from ICSI and IVF are derived from parental reproductive material as opposed to the techniques themselves.  No one knows, as of yet, how these genetic abnormalities will impact on these children since they are still very young. However, it is notable that a number of large studies performed in many countries have found a slight rise for the risk of birth defects in children born as a result of ICSI and IVF (4%-6%) in comparison to children born the natural way (2%-3%).

One last study issued in July 2010 in Pediatrics, stated that physicians are now seeing a higher risk for cancer in babies born as a result of fertility treatments.   

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