IVF Doesn't Contribute To Developmental Delays, New Study Says

First Posted: Jan 05, 2016 04:44 PM EST

In vitro fertilization (IVF) does not contribute to developmental delays, according to a recent study.

Research conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that there was not a heightened risk of developmental delays by the age of three in children who were conceived via IVF or other infertility treatments when compared to those naturally conceived.

"When we began our study, there was little research on the potential effects of conception via fertility treatments on U.S. children," Dr. Edwina Yeung, an investigator at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a news release. "Our results provide reassurance to the thousands of couples who have relied on these treatments to establish their families."

During the study, researchers reviewed data on 4,824 mothers of 5,841 children in New York state (excluding New York City) that had been collected between 2008 and 2010. Of the children, 1,830 were conceived with IVF and 2,074 were twins. Data on delays was collected by questionnaires at 4, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months.

Findings showed that 13 percent of children conceived through IVF had a delay, while 18 percent of the sample conceived naturally also showed delays. 

Previous research has shown that more older couples may use IVF to try and conceive later in life. Of course, having children when you're older can also increase the risk of health problems for the baby. The study points at the importance of differentiating between potential effects of a fertility treatment versus other factors. 

Now, the study authors will continue to evaluate the children periodically until they reach 8 years of age.

The study is published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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