The Problem of Birth Defects: Economic Impact


$8 billion is the estimated lifetime cost for US children born in a single year with 17 common birth defects and/or cerebral palsy. (About 22% of those with birth defects will have one of these conditions.)

Researchers tracked expenses for people with these birth defects, including the extra costs for related problems (multiple defects, low birth weight, developmental disability). It included:

bullet-4371087 Direct costs for medical treatment, developmental services and special education.
bullet-4371087 Indirect costs to society for lost wages due to early death or occupational limitations.

The estimates are conservative and don’t include lost wages for family caretakers or psychosocial costs.

Documenting the magnitude of birth defects costs underscores the need to find causes and develop prevention strategies. Currently, the federal budget for birth defects research is only a fraction of what’s spent every year on treatment.

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