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Scientist Suggests IVF Children Should be Monitored into Adulthood

A study of 3,980 articles in medical and scientific journals between 1980 and 2005 has shown significantly higher risks of long-term medical problems for children conceived through artificial procreation such as in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a method in which a selected sperm is injected into the ovum.

Dr. Alastair Sutcliffe, of the Institute of Child Health at University College London and Dr. Michael Ludwig, of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecologic Endocrinology in Hamburg, examined the data and have concluded that babies conceived through artificial means should be monitored well into adulthood.

The study showed the risk of miscarriage is between 20 and 34 per cent higher than naturally conceived children. It showed 55 per cent increase in the risk of pre-eclampsia, or hypertension in pregnancy; an increased risk of stillbirth at 155 per cent; low birth weight at 70 to 77 per cent and very low birth weight at 170 to 200 per cent.

Major malformations and cerebral palsy are also significantly more likely with artificially conceived children.

Dr Sutcliffe commented, “In-vitro fertilisation has been done for nearly 30 years; in developed countries at least 1% of births are from ARTs [assisted reproduction techniques]. These children now represent a substantial portion of the population but little is known about their health.”

The study coincides with numerous others showing that IVF and related fertility technologies produce significantly higher rates of serious health problems in children. Most recently, a study published in the June 21, 2007 issue of Human Reproduction showed that children conceived through IVF visit hospitals significantly more times (1.76 vs. 1.07 times) than naturally conceived children.
Summary page on IVF: [27July07, Hilary White, London,]
Children Conceived by IVF Have Nearly Twice as Many Health Problems. A recent British study shows that children conceived by IVF have increased health problems and spend almost double the time in hospital than naturally conceived children, the Daily Mail reports.
The 7-year follow-up study, done in conjunction with Finnish studies, compared the hospital costs of IVF-conceived children to naturally conceived children. It examined 303 IVF-conceived children as well as 567 naturally-conceived children, all of whom were born between the years 1990 and 1995. Prior studies had reviewed the pregnancies of these children, their medical history and neo-natal health as well as the case notes of their hospitalization.

Published in the June 21, 2007 issue of Human Reproduction, the study showed that on average, a child conceived through IVF was in hospital significantly more times (1.76 vs. 1.07 times) than a naturally conceived child.

Dr. Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, professor at Imperial College London and one of the lead researchers behind the report, told, "What we showed was that actually there were certain disease groups which were more common among those born after IVF." She added that this included "certain infections, respiratory disease, and inflammatory disease," and noted that there are some neurological disorders that are slightly more common as well.

The report also notes that low birth weight and pre-term birth have been linked to IVF, but these results may be influenced by the multiple births often resulting from IVF. Nevertheless, single IVF children were also sicker than naturally conceived children and spent more time in the hospital. During the 7-year period, 61% of the singleton IVF children were hospitalized versus 46% of the naturally conceived singletons.

Jarvelin told that researchers don't know the reasons for the increased amount of certain diseases among IVF children. Most of the children born through IVF, however, are still healthy children, she said, "But we have to be more cautious and parents should be carefully informed that there might be some dangers that we might not know."

There are dangers involved in the multiple implantations of embryos involved in IVF, but this is not recommended anymore, said Jarvelin, because the fetuses are at higher risk.

The IVF mother is also at higher risk, not only from multiple implantations, but from other clinical problems such as blood toxemia.

There is an additional, very rare condition seen among IVF women called Ovum Stimulation Syndrome, Jarvelin stated, that is caused by the medication that is used to stimulate ovaries during the IVF process. She stated that it can be "quite dangerous" for the woman.

"What this research really means," she concluded, "is that we need studies following these children…It shows that we need follow-up and long-term studies to see whether these people are really more healthy than naturally conceived children."

These newest findings are in accordance with past studies that have indicated that children who are conceived through IVF have a higher risk of deformity and over-all health problems. These problems include cerebral palsy, higher mortality rates and "ambiguous genitalia".

Related: UK Doctors Warn IVF Drugs Pose Health Hazard for Mothers

Mounting Evidence of IVF Defects

IVF Children Suffer More Over-All Health Problems Than Naturally-Conceived Children

Finnish Study finds IVF Increases Risk of Deformity

IVF Babies up to 40% More Likely to Suffer Severe Birth Defects
[24July07, Elizabeth O'Brien, London,]