High doses of drugs used to stimulate the ovaries of older women undergoing fertility treatment may result in failed pregnancies and babies with conditions such as Down's syndrome. Research by a UK team, presented at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Stockholm, suggests that eggs produced after fertility treatment have more chromosomal abnormalities than would be expected in untreated women of the same age group.
"What this paper shows is that a lot of the chromosomal abnormalities are not those that are conventionally age-related," said Stuart Lavery, of the IVF clinic at Hammersmith hospital in London. It raises concerns, he said, that the treatment itself might be responsible for the abnormalities - possibly by allowing eggs to develop "that nature would have excluded". If a pregnancy went to term, these could lead to the birth of a baby with Down's syndrome. ~ Guardian, Jul 4