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IVF Now Found to Make Kids Taller
Scientists have discovered another puzzling side-effect of IVF — that it can produce taller children.
A New Zealand-based study has found children conceived using a certain In Vitro Fertilisation technique were several centimetres taller, by age six, when compared to naturally conceived peers.
The height advantage was seen only in children born as a result of IVF process which used fresh, and not frozen, embryos.
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The research adds to a growing understanding of the way different processes used in IVF, a refuge for couples with fertility problems for 30 years now, can prompt real changes in the resulting children.
"We don't know the reasons for the height difference," said Dr Mark Green, a research fellow at New Zealand's Liggins Institute.
"... But can I suggest that it may have something to do with the hormones that are given to the mother to stimulate the ovary in fresh embryo transfer.
"Fresh embryos are usually of a better quality than frozen embryos which may be a contributing factor to differences in height in the resulting children."
Dr Green and his research colleagues took measurements from more than 200 children, around half of them born using either freshly produced or frozen embryos.
Those born as a result of frozen embryos were found to be the same height as those who were naturally conceived.
Children, and particularly the girls, which resulted from fresh embryos were found to be on average 2.6cm taller than their peers.
The researchers also found higher concentrations of growth-related hormones in the fresh embryo IVF children, and beneficial differences in their blood lipid profile.