As the father of an IVF baby I found this interesting. A study published in Pediatrics this month finds that IVF children have more health problems than other children. The Finnish study looked at children conceived through IVF born over a 3 year period between 1996 and 1999 and followed them until 2003. They were compared to other children not conceived through IVF.
Overall, IVF children were noted to have higher mortality rates, greater numbers of hospitalizations, and increased risk of behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, and infections. The risk of cerebral palsy didn’t appear to apply to single IVF babies.
So why would IVF children be less healthy? The authors note that their poor health could be the result of infertility itself, varying health behavior during pregnancy, and preterm labor which is more common in mothers requiring high-tech treatments like IVF.
While this isn’t the first study to showcase the outcomes of in vitro babies, it’s a sobering reminder. For potentially childless couples the benefits probably still outweigh the potential risks.