May 29, 2024

Review finds child health unaffected by IVF

The largest review ever of IVF children has found that the way they were conceived did not have an impact on their overall health, although there are immediate problems at birth. Kathy Hudson, of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, brought together a panel of experts who reviewed 169 high quality studies.

Apart from the well-known risk that IVF children will be premature, underweight and twins, there appeared to be no notable problems with overall health, development and psychosocial skills, childhood cancers, major malformations and growth abnormalities, she said. However, the results for children born from intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and for diseases related to genetic imprinting were inconclusive.

One issue highlighted by the report was the dearth of good studies on the topic. Since no research has been done on the health of children for longer than 10 years after birth, problems could emerge later in life for IVF children, experts have warned. “It’s absolutely astonishing,” says Dr Leon Kass, the head of the President’s Council on Bioethics. “You’ve got 26 years since Louise Brown and, as far as I know, no one has done any forward-looking studies of these children.”