Fertility Specialists of Western Australia Long-term effects of IVF treatment on children's health

Long-term effects of IVF on children’s health

Congratulations to the Medical Director of Fertility Specialists WA and National Medical Director of City Fertility, Professor Roger Hart and his team at the University of Western Australia (UWA) for their research on IVF treatment’s long-term effects on children’s health.

The basics – why was this study conducted?

Led by Professor Roger Hart, the peer-reviewed study was written by WA PhD student Laura Wijs and aimed to explore the long-term effects of IVF, using the information of 163 children born via IVF prior to 2001.

The research was in partnership with the Raine Study, one of the world’s largest, most successful pregnancy cohorts, by comparing outcomes from IVF-born children to those in the Raine Study cohort.

Over ten million babies have now been delivered through IVF worldwide, meaning there is at least one child in every classroom who is IVF-conceived. Nevertheless, there has been very little research done in this area.

What have we learnt from the research?

“The results of our latest study are interesting because they show that at both 14 and 17 years of age, ART-conceived teenagers are better behaved, demonstrating less externalising behaviour traits,” Professor Roger Hart said.

He said, “We also found that IVF-conceived offspring may perform at a higher level when it comes to academic testing in schools.”

On the flipside, there were some suggestions there may be a greater incidence of adolescent depression in IVF-conceived children. However, any differences were shown to have dissipated by the age of 17.

But it wasn’t just mental health findings that they discovered. Professor Heart and his team found that IVF-born females had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those born naturally in the control group. There were no noticeable differences among adolescent males.

“Further reassuring data for both IVF children themselves, and their parents, is that our research showed that there were no differences in any blood measures of cardiac or metabolic risk between the two groups,” he said.

A bright future for IVF-conceived families

“We really hope that these studies will offer reassurance to couples considering embarking on IVF treatment, to children and adults born from IVF treatment and to IVF clinicians counselling their patients who have trouble conceiving,” Professor Hart added.

Once again, congratulations to Professor Hart and his team at UWA; we look forward to more fantastic research in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about our fertility services or discuss how we can help, contact our friendly staff at 1300 392 393 or fertilitywa@cityfertility.com.au today.