Healthier Babies with Newer IVF Techniques
Reporting in the journal Human Reproduction, Scandinavian researchers have found that babies born through assisted reproductive technology (ART) are healthier than ever.1
The researchers looked at data from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden for about 92,000 children born through ART in the years 1988 to 2007. They compared the health of these babies at birth and during the first year of life with about 362,000 conceived without ART during the same 20-year period.
A few study highlights
- During the study, the risk of being born preterm or very preterm declined among single babies conceived after ART. During the first five-year period, the rate of preemie singletons born after AFT was 13 percent. But by 2007, this had fallen to 8 percent.
- The proportion of single ART babies born with low or very low birth weights also decreased.
Why the improved health?
The researchers suggest that improved health in IVF babies may be due, in part, to better techniques used for culturing fertilized eggs, as well as milder drugs used to stimulate the ovaries before harvest of eggs.
But the most significant contributor of all? Most likely the increasingly popular policy of elective single embryo transfer (eSET). During the period of the study, the rate of twin deliveries reduced by one-third, helping to decrease many risks linked to multiple embryos.
1. Henningsen AA et al. Hum. Reprod. January. 20,2015; doi:10.1093/humrep/deu351.