A new study out of the University of Bristol reveals that fears about children conceived via IVF are unfounded
The research, published on July 26 in the peer-reviewed journal “JAMA Network Open,” studied 158,000 European, Asian-Pacific, and Canadian children conceived via fertility treatments.
There have long been concerns over the growth and weight percentiles of babies conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART). However, these concerns appear to be unfounded. The study’s summary reads, “differences in the growth, weight, and body fat levels of children conceived through fertility treatment are small, and no longer apparent by late adolescence.”
The study was conducted by an international research group from the Assisted Reproductive Technology and Future Health (ART-Health) Cohort Collaboration
It was funded by a number of international and local bodies, including the European Research Council (under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program).
Notably, the research included 8,600 children included in the University of Bristol’s ‘Children of the 90s’ study, which has followed children conceived via ART since 1991.
The study does show that ART babies and children are slightly lighter, shorter, and thinner than their naturally conceived peers from birth until early adolescence. However, these differences even out after early adolescence.
Dr Ahmed Elhakeem, the lead study author, writes, “this is important work. Over the last three decades, conception by ART has increased… Since the first birth of a child by IVF, concerns have been raised about the risks to the children conceived.
“Parents and their children conceived by ART can be reassured that this might mean they are a little bit smaller and lighter from infancy to adolescence, but these differences are unlikely to have any health implications.”
He also stated that the team would continue to monitor participants as they reach adulthood
According to the Chief Executive of the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), “around 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving in the UK, which leads to around 53,000 patients a year having fertility treatment (IVF or Donor Insemination). The findings from this study will come as a welcome relief to these patients who begin treatment in the hope of one day having healthy children of their own.”
The team will present their findings at the DOHaD World Congress (International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Social & Environmental Disruption), taking place 27 – 30 August in Vancouver, Canada.
If you’d like to read the study, titled “ Association of Assisted Reproductive Technology With Offspring Growth and Adiposity From Infancy to Early Adulthood,” in its entirety, you can find it here
Have you ever had worries about the long-term health effects of IVF and other ART on babies and children? If so, does this study help with your concerns? Share your reactions and thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social @ivfbabble
Be sure to share this article with anyone who has gone through IVF or is considering it in the future.
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