What are the causes of cleft lips and palates?
How malnutrition and genetics can cause clefts,
Clefts can have various causes. On the one hand, genetics: if a family member has suffered from a cleft lip-palate in the past, there is a higher probability that the disfigurement may also occur in following generations.
On the other hand, there are a great number of different factors which can affect the development of the child during pregnancy: malnutrition or an untreated disease of the mother, for example anaemia.
"That is why," explains Prof. Sailer, " the cleft rate is higher amongst newborn children depending upon the level of poverty in the countries from which they originate. How can a mother who is herself not healthy hope to give birth to a healthy child?"