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Does assisted reproduction increase chances for long-term health risks?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Assisted Reproduction

Previous studies in Australia, Singapore and Europe suggested that children conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) experienced more health risks than naturally conceived children. The results indicated that children conceived using ART had, on average, higher blood pressure, glucose levels and heart rates.

But a new investigation, released on Feb. 6, 2023, expanded on that research looking at the health of the 36,000 children involved in one of the 14 original studies. They looked at the children’s medical data for an extended period into early adulthood. Researchers concluded that the children conceived through ART suffered no elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.

The study offers reassurance

The new study, published in the European Heart Journal, says when the children reached adulthood, they showed similar blood pressure, heart rates and glucose levels to naturally conceived children. Head researcher Ahmed Elhakeem of the University of Bristol says parents who have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or those who hope to conceive using ART should be reassured by the findings.

The Human Fertilisation (sic) and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says large-scale studies like this help drive advancements in fertility science. HFEA closely monitors ART research to ensure fertility specialists and their patients have access to the latest information. Elhakeem and the study’s other authors say more long-term research is needed to provide insight into other still unanswered questions. They say that can help determine whether individuals conceived through ART are more at risk for cardiovascular or other health issues later in life. The findings may not affect whether aspiring parents use ART to have children, but they may arm such families with necessary information to assess and protect the resulting children’s health once they are born.