Outcomes from infancy to adulthood after assisted reproductive technology

We review the recent literature concerning infant, childhood, adolescent, and young adult outcomes after the use of assisted reproductive technology.

Seetha Shankaran, M.D.

Volume 101, Issue 5, Pages 1217–1221

The outcomes of assisted reproductive technology (ART) should be not only the evaluation of successful initiation of pregnancy but also the birth of healthy infants and the evaluation of long-term outcomes of the offspring of the couple undergoing therapy. Maternal and neonatal outcomes are reported in another article in this series. This article will review the infant, childhood, adolescent, and young adult outcomes published after ART. The recent literature will be reviewed.

  • To rephrase my previous post- do studies exist that show improved outcomes in ART-conceived offspring? From the review it appears that all studies either showed no difference or small increases in pathology in the ART group. It may be that studies are not being designed to assess superiority both ways.

  • In addition to the short term perinatal outcomes, longer term outcomes of offspring from ART are one of the most frequently mentioned concerns by patients and therefore an important area of research. When longer term outcomes are assessed, the importance of the environment on child development may increase relative to the genetic factors. Sadly access to IVF is still heavily influenced by socio-economic factors in most of the world, and used by couples with better resources and health literacy / access to health services. Therefore I am curious to see whether we will at some point see reports about improved health and cognitive outcomes in ART-conceived offspring. It will be important but difficult (nearly impossible?) to control for all the complex genetic and environmental factors involved.

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