Babies born through IVF end up being smarter… but are more prone to depression, study finds
Babies born through IVF are smarter but more prone to mental health problems than naturally conceived children, research suggests.
Experts from the University of Helsinki followed 280,000 young people born in Finland between 1995 and 2000 until their 18th birthday.
Babies born using assisted conception techniques performed better in class and were less likely to drop out of high school.
However, they were at a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed with a mental health problem, especially anxiety or depression.
Researchers said better school performance in IVF babies may be due to wealthier families paying for the procedure earlier.
The increased risk of mental health problems persisted even when children born through IVF were compared with naturally conceived siblings.
Parents who have undergone IVF may pay more attention to their child’s health and take them to the doctor more often, the researchers reasoned.
A team from the University of Helsinki looked at nearly 280,000 young people born in Finland between 1995 and 2000. About one in 20 was born through IVF, artificial insemination and ovulation induction, also known as medically assisted reproduction (MAR). Although the group scored higher on school tests and less likely to drop out of high school, they were also one percent more likely to have mental health problems. Pictured: Close Up In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Stock
HOW COMMON IS INFERTILITY?
Infertility is when a couple cannot conceive (get pregnant) despite regular unprotected sex.
About 1 in 7 couples may have trouble conceiving.
About 84 percent of couples will conceive naturally within a year if they have unprotected sex regularly — defined as every two to three days.
For couples who have been trying to conceive for more than three years without success, the chance of conceiving naturally within a year is one in four or less.
Britons are advised to talk to their GP if they can’t get pregnant after trying for a year.
Infertility is usually caused by a lack of regular ovulation, poor quality sperm, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, and endometriosis.
Fertility can also be affected by age, weight, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, alcohol, pesticide exposure and stress.
Fertility treatments include medications to encourage regular ovulation, surgical procedures to repair fallopian tubes or scarring, and assisted birth control, such as IVF.
More than eight in ten couples conceive naturally within a year of trying.
Couples who have unsuccessfully tried to conceive can access treatments on the NHS, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) – when sperm is inserted into a woman’s uterus – and IVF, when a fertilized egg is inserted into the uterus .
Since 1991, around 390,000 babies have been born through IVF in the UK, while there are over a million in the US. The annual rate has tripled in the past three decades.
In the latest study, researchers examined health records of 266,925 naturally conceived Finnish children born between 1995 and 2000, as well as 13,757 who were born through IVF, IUI or ovulation induction.
The latter is when women are given fertility drugs to stimulate the follicles in their ovaries, causing them to produce multiple eggs in one cycle.
The study looked at their school and medical records at age 16 or 18.
The results, published in the European Journal of Population, show that children conceived via assisted conception, compared with natural born children, had a higher rate (8 vs 7.7), were less likely to drop out of school ( 2.4 percent versus 3.6). percent) and 18 percent less likely to leave the house (11 percent versus 17 percent).
However, the researchers noted that these differences between the two groups “mostly disappeared” after taking into account family circumstances such as their parents’ wealth, relationship status and education.
Babies born through IVF are more likely to come from wealthier families who can give their children more money, time and emotional investment at the expense of their education, they said.
Private IVF treatment costs around £5,000 per cycle in the UK and $15,000 (£12,000) in the US.
Separate analysis showed that those conceived via assisted conception were 1 percent more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
Nine percent of naturally conceived youth had a mental health diagnosis in their late teens, compared with 10 percent under assisted conception.
The researchers said that while the finding is small as a percentage, it is significant.
dr. Hanna Remes, a researcher at the University of Helsinki and lead author of the study, said the team cannot yet explain this finding.
But she suggested that couples may have depression and anxiety in response to their struggle to conceive, putting their child “at greater risk for mental health problems.”
Alternatively, parents who used assisted conception may be “more concerned about their child’s well-being” and take them to the doctor or hospital more often, increasing their chances of being diagnosed with mental health problems and other conditions.
The team noted that the world’s oldest IVF child is only 43 years old, so research on this topic is “relatively new and untapped.”
But because of the proliferation of assisted birth control, it’s “vital” to understand the long-term implications for children and young people, they said.