High-dose fertility drugs put mothers and babies at risk, according to two studies discussed at a conference in London last week. The studies indicate that women who receive high doses of drugs to stimulate their ovaries into producing lots of eggs - so that the best possible ones can be picked once the egg has been fertilised by sperm in the laboratory - are more likely to produce embryos with genetic defects and suffer harmful changes to their womb lining.
Most embryos will never develop into babies because the defects make it impossible for them to survive when they are implanted back into the womb. But the discovery explains why so many fertility treatments fail, with thousands of women going through several expensive and painful cycles of treatment in the hope of having a child. It will add to worries that some genetic changes may occur in the children which are not yet being picked up by doctors.
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