Radiation & Reproduction

The following information pertains to radiation exposures of women who are pregnant and have questions about the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. It is also for men and women who are concerned about radiation exposures they have had that might impact the development of their sperm or their eggs (ova) and their risk of passing on genetic diseases because of the radiation exposure.

This section contains basic concepts as an introduction to help understand the more specific information provided later. It must be remembered that every healthy woman without a personal or a family history of reproductive or developmental problems begins her pregnancy with a 3 percent risk for major birth defects and a 15 percent (~1 in 7) risk for miscarriage. These are the normal background risks for all healthy pregnant women.