In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Does IVF Affect Child Development?
- Follow-up on 318 babies born from either fresh or frozen embryo transfers (FET), there were no statistically significant differences in development in children over 2 years old with a mean age of 37 months.
- On some of the parameters the children born from an FET had higher scores than the children born after a fresh embryo transfer, but the differences did not reach statistical significance.
- 391 couples were randomized to either having a fresh embryo transfer or cryopreservation of all the embryos (freeze-all) and a subsequent frozen embryo transfer (FET).
- 167 babies were born in the freeze-all group and 151 babies were born from the fresh embryo transfer group.
- There were 97 singleton and 35 twins in the freeze-all group and 95 singleton and 28 twins in the fresh transfer group.
- The offspring were analyzed using the ASQ-3 questionnaires that are designed to detect development delays in 5 areas of development-communication, problem solving, social behavior and gross and fine motor skills.
- The twins and singleton preterm babies were analyzed separately. In the follow up study there was no difference in height or weight between the children born from either a frozen or fresh embryo transfer. When the singletons were analyzed there was no statistical difference in the ASQ-3 scores (52.3 vs 51.0). In the twins there was also no significant difference in the ASQ3 score. The percentage of children with an abnormal ASQ-3 score was slightly lower in the children from the FETs (6.8 versus 8.3) but did not reach statistical significance.
- In terms of fine motor skills, overall, the children from the FET group scored slightly higher than the children from the fresh transfers 47.8 vs. 44.9. When these studies are broken down to singletons there was no statistical significance 46.0 vs.45.4. However, in the twins, the freeze-only group had a slightly higher score 49.85 versus 43.93.
No Developmental Delay Found in Children Born From Cryopreserved Embryos
These findings point to no development delay in children born from cryopreserved embryos. In fact children born from frozen embryos had slightly higher fine motor skills compared with the children born from fresh embryos. On a few of the parameters for development, there was a trend towards higher scores in the children born from frozen embryos.
This study is reassuring that children born from cryopreserved embryos have no developmental delays compared to children born from fresh embryo transfers. If you have more questions like “does IVF affect child development?” or if you are having difficulty conceiving, please contact us for a free consultation.
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