Birth defects are an enormousbut often overlookedpublic health problem. Each year, another 120,000 children are born in the US with significant birth defects, requiring billions of dollars for medical treatment and other services.
Research to find causes and prevent birth defects is a wise investmentyet it is significantly underfunded. The federal budget for birth defects research is less than 1% of the amount devoted to less common problems such as pediatric AIDS or childhood cancer.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Research to prevent birth defects saves lives and money. As a nation, we can no longer afford to shortchange this effortor we postpone the day when all children can be born healthy.