PATIENT INFORMATION > About Cleft > Causes of cleft 

About Cleft

Causes of cleft

Even though cleft lips and palates are the most common human birth defects, doctors still do not fully understand what actually causes them. There is no one cause for cleft. Rather, there are factors in the parents' genes and environment that make it likelier that a child is born with a cleft:



  • Parents or other family members have cleft (and other genetic reasons),
  • Consanguineous marriages (children born from a couple who are close relatives),
  • Vitamin deficiency during pregnancy,
  • Poor quality of air or water in the living environment (pollution),
  • Lack of oxygen from living at high altitudes in the mountains (thin air).


Many people still believe that cleft is given by god as a punishment, or that it is related to lunar or solar eclipses. This is not true. Also, no person can be made responsible for the deformity.