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Study: IVF babies could have better lives than those conceived naturally

The first successful IVF was carried out in 1978

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Newborn baby first days of life
(Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

By Tom Campbell via SWNS

IVF babies could have a better quality of life in their 20s and 30s than those conceived naturally, scientists revealed.

Mothers who use fertility treatments to fall pregnant could have kids who grow up to be more healthy adults, according to a new study.

The number of women turning to assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) has tripled in the past 30 years.

via GIPHY

After other psychosocial factors were taken into account, the study found IVF was "strongly linked" with a better quality of life in both social relationships and their environment when aged between 22 and 35.

Those born via IVF who took part in the study were found to have less psychological distress, a more positive relationship with their parents, a better financial situation and more positive perceptions of their own weight between the ages of 18 and 28.

An estimated eight million children around the world have been born with ART since the first successful IVF was carried out in 1978.

The physical and mental health of children conceived this way has been carefully studied, but less attention has been paid to how they fare as adults.

Now, scientists in Australia have found that being conceived with a little help from technology could have benefits further down the line.

Dr. Karin Hammarberg, a lead author of the study at Monash University in Melbourne, said: “Our findings suggest that being ART-conceived can provide some advantages on quality of life in adulthood, independent of other psychosocial factors.

"Together with previous evidence that adults conceived by ART have similar physical health to those who were naturally conceived, this is reassuring for people who were conceived with ART – and those who need ART to conceive.”

Data on 193 young adults conceived through ART and 86 who were naturally conceived was analyzed by the researchers.

Participants were given questionnaires when they were aged 18 to 28, and then again between 22 and 35.

It covered a wide range of factors, including mode of conception and the mother’s age when the participant was born, their sexual orientation and family finances during secondary school.

The research also looked at how participants perceived their own weight, how much vigorous exercise they did, how many close friends they had and the quality of their relationship with their parents.

Their quality of life was measured using the World Health Organisation's assessment which looks at four areas, including physical, psychosocial, social relationships and environment.

Quality of Life sign with sky background
(ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

Those conceived through ART scored higher on the social relationships and environment sections of the second assessment, the researchers found.

The benefits of ART on people's quality of life held true even after making statistical adjustments to account for other psychosocial factors.

Dr. Hammarberg added: “Children conceived via ART are nowadays a substantial part of the population – and it’s important to continue to evaluate the long-term effects of ART on their physical health and well-being as they progress through adolescence into adulthood.

"When accounting for other factors present in young adulthood, being ART-conceived appears to confer some advantages in quality of life.

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, we also found that, independently of how the person was conceived, having a better relationship with parents, less psychological distress, and a better family financial situation in young adulthood contributed to a better adult quality of life.”

It is the first study to explore how being conceived through ART could impact young adults' quality of life.

Many of those who took part in the first study, however, did not come back for the second assessment, the researchers caution.

The findings were published in the journal Human Fertility.

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