How IVF Affects the Health of the Children Conceived

Most parents that conceive children with in vitro fertilization wonder about the short-term and long-term impact of this treatment on the children conceived. Are children conceived through infertility treatment more at risk for: congenital defects; physical growth delays; neurological, cognitive, behavioral, and mental health issues; metabolic disease, or at an increased risk for cancer? What does a review of the latest research show? Host Dawn Davenport interviewed Dr. Seetha Shankaran, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and author of comprehensive analysis of the literature on childhood and young adult outcome following assisted reproductive therapies.

Hit the Highlights
  • Are children conceived through infertility treatment more at risk for congenital defects?
  • Does IVF or other fertility treatment affect the physical growth of the children?
  • Does conception through IVF or ICSO change the timing of onset of puberty, whether sooner or later than the norm?
  • Are children conceived through fertility treatment more likely to have neurological impairment?
  • Is the IQ or cognitive development of children conceived via in vitro fertilization different from the general population?
  • Are behavioral or mental health issues more common in IVF kids?
  • Is metabolic disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or a high BMI an issue for children born from fertility treatment?
  • Does IVF cause an increased risk for cancer in the children?
  • Distinguish the cause: is it the ART, or is it the fact that the parents who conceived these children are infertile? Or that the mothers are likely older than average?
  • Distinquish impact of multiple births and premature births.
  • Are singletons born after IVF more likely to be premature?
  • Did outcomes vary based on the type of infertility treatment-oral meds (clomiphene citrate or letrozole) vs. IVF vs. IVF with ICSI?