U.S. Test-Tube Births Underreported By States, Study Finds

ATLANTA Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:18am EST

(Reuters) – The number of test-tube babies born each year in the United States is underreported by states, a new federal study found on Wednesday, complicating efforts by researchers to understand the risks associated with pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilizations.

The research by the National Center for Health Statistics compared birth certificate data in 27 states and Washington, D.C., with the numbers from a federal survey of the medical clinics that use assisted reproductive technology to join eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish.

There were 38,496 test-tube babies born in 2011, the federal survey found, which was more than twice as many as were reported on the states’ birth certificates. The largest disparity between the numbers was in Florida and the lowest was in Utah, the study found.

Researchers do not know the reasons for the differences, said Marie Thoma, one of the study’s authors. But improving the accuracy of the state data is key to better understanding the outcomes of these pregnancies, she said.

The number of children conceived using in vitro fertilization, sometimes called test-tube babies, has risen steadily in the United States since the early 1980s, the study said.

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