IVF babies are just as healthy as others - study

There had been around 150,000 ART births in Australia so far.
Photo / Thinkstock
There had been around 150,000 ART births in Australia so far. Photo / Thinkstock

IVF babies have every chance of growing into healthy adults, according to a study that brings reassuring news to the 150,000 Australians born through the assisted-reproduction process.

They have almost no difference in general wellbeing compared with naturally conceived babies, say Melbourne researchers who interviewed hundreds of parents and their adult children.

They have the same weight range, do as well at school and university, have the same rate of ADHD and reach puberty at the same time.

However, the study confirms previous research findings that assisted-reproduction children are slightly more prone to asthma and hay fever than other children.

It also shows they are more likely to have spent time in hospital.

The reasons for this are not known.

The study excludes twins, but multiple births through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are much less common in Australia than in other countries.

"Overall most ART offspring have grown into healthy young adults with a quality of life and educational achievement comparable to those of their non-ART-conceived peers," said study leader Professor Jane Halliday of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

The study is reassuring for health professionals and families, said co-author Professor Robert McLachlan of Monash IVF.

There had been around 150,000 ART births in Australia so far, he said.

"On average, one child in every classroom is an ART baby.

"We have a social responsibility to look back and reassure ourselves of its safety."

He said the study was based on subjective feedback from parents and children.

A more objective follow-up with scientific assessment is now needed.

- AAP

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