Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

IVF Children Grow into Healthy Adults

Young adults conceived through assisted reproductive technologies have grown up as healthy individuals.

Young adults conceived through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have grown up as healthy individuals, comparing well with those conceived naturally according to the world’s largest study of ART in young adults.

The study, published in Fertility and Sterility, found that young adults who were conceived using ART had similar quality of life to non-ART children along with a normal body mass index and development. Educational outcomes, including tertiary admission scores and completion of tertiary education, were also similar between the two groups.

Researchers interviewed 656 mothers who used ART and their 547 young adult offspring aged between 18 and 29 years, and compared this with reports from 868 mothers and their 549 young adult offspring who were conceived without ART.

Study collaborator Prof Jane Fisher of Monash University said that the main finding of the study was that “most children conceived with ART techniques such as in vitro fertilisation grow into healthy young adults, with a quality of life, physical development and educational achievement comparable to those of their non-ART conceived peers”.

While there was a higher rate of hospitalisation among ART children, and a higher rate of asthma and hay fever, there was no evidence for increased rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among ART children.

The researchers plan to follow the group’s fertility and continue to evaluate their health status to determine if there are any important lifelong medical or other legacies of ART.