October 3, 2014

ART is Associated with Healthy Babies and Children

Fresh Embryo Transfer vs. Frozen

It is human nature to approach new technology with both excitement and trepidation. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is responsible for the generation of more than 5 million lives throughout the world. Harnessed in this large cohort size is the ability to assess long term outcomes of the offspring. National registries and time allow for monitoring of the health of life generated from embryo to infancy and now into adulthood. The common question when considering assisted reproductive technology is if your baby will be healthy? The answer is ART is associated with healthy babies and children!

The rate of congenital anomalies after ART has been difficult to assess as many studies measure different outcomes and define anomalies differently. As a whole, there are no more documented congenital anomalies in infants born of ART then compared to those born via traditional conception when the ages of the mothers are similar. Additionally, ART had been associated with a special-type of DNA alteration called an imprinting disorder.

These imprinting disorders are relatively rare. Although there were reports of associations between early ART and these disorders, studies did not control for confounders. One of the better studies from the Danish registry (1995-2007) demonstrated no increase in these kinds of disorders in ART and non-ART babes. Links of ART to congenital anomalies and imprinting disorders are weak and in many cases, unfounded.

Furthermore, in these children, there are no more health conditions or growth deficits noted as they age. Height, weight, growth curves as well as pubertal development remains unchanged in ART and non-ART groups of children. Healthy Moms promote healthy pregnancies regardless of ART or traditional conceptions.

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D.

Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility