The fertility drug Clomid has been linked to a 3X increased risk of birth defects and the CDC has warned about higher rates of heart defects, skull defects, and more.
Clomid Birth Defects
Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is a fertility drug that helps women get pregnant by stimulating the ovaries to release an egg. Unfortunately, studies have shown that it also significantly increases the risk of having a baby with a birth defect when used just before or during pregnancy, including:
- Neural tube (spina bifida)
- Heart defects
- Skull defects
- Gastrointestinal defects (omphalocele)
- Cleft lip/palate
- Limb defects
- And more
Pregnancy Category X
Clomid is “Pregnancy Category X” — the most serious classification the FDA can give a drug to warn about the risk of birth defects. Studies have shown that up to 20% of pregnancies exposed to Clomid end spontaneous miscarriage. Up to 10% involve multiples (twins or triplets).
Study Links Clomid and 3X Risk of Birth Defects
In May 2012, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a tripled risk of birth defects in babies born to women who used Clomid. Birth defects linked to fertility treatments included cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, urogenital, and gastrointestinal defects and cerebral palsy.
CDC Issues Warning for Clomid Birth Defects
In November 2010, the journal Human Reproduction published a study linking Clomid with an increased risk of birth defects.
Conclusions of the study were based on data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. It included women who had a baby between October 2007 and December 2005 and used Clomid from 2 months before pregnancy through the first month of pregnancy
Overall, researchers found higher rates of the following birth defects:
- Anencephaly (2.3-fold risk): Neural tube defect that causes severe under-development of the brain and skull.
- Dandy-Walker malformation (4.4-fold risk): Brain defect involving the cerebellum.
- Heart defects
- Muscular ventricular septal defect (4.9-fold risk): Hole in the heart wall between the two lower chambers
- Septal heart defects (1.6-fold risk): “Hole in the heart” defects
- Coarctation of the aorta (1.8-fold risk): Critical heart defect involving narrowing of the aorta
- Cloacal exstrophy (5.4-fold risk): Multiple defects involving the genitals, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal tract
- Craniosynostosis (1.9-fold risk): Premature closure of soft spaces between skull bones, causing an abnormally-shaped head