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Kids Born Via IVF Mostly Faring Well into Adulthood
Young adults who were conceived through in-vitro fertilization are doing as well as the average young American as far as physical health, though their rates of certain psychological problems appear elevated, a new study finds.
The study, published in the journal of the Fertility and Sterility, is a follow-up of the first generation of U.S. children conceived via IVF. All were born between 1981 and 1990 through the IVF program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where the first IVF baby in the U.S. was born, in 1981.
According to Dr. Sergio Oehninger and his colleagues at the university, there are "lingering questions" about the potential health effects of IVF on children.
A body of research suggests that even the earliest stages of embryonic development may affect people's risks of various chronic health conditions later in life. Because those earliest stages are different for children conceived through IVF, that could, in theory, result in differences in disease risks.
In addition, IVF births are often multiples, which means greater odds of preterm delivery and low birth weight, which can negatively affect children's long-term development.
But in their study, Oehninger and his colleagues found that young adults born via IVF were generally "healthy and well adjusted." However, their rates of certain psychological conditions, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and binge-drinking, were elevated.
Among the 173 18- to 26-year-olds they surveyed, two-thirds said they had ever been diagnosed with a physical or psychological health problem. The most common were psychiatric conditions, vision problems and asthma or allergies. Read more.