Children conceived through IVF do not develop differently | Sunday Observer

Children conceived through IVF do not develop differently

30 July, 2022

IVF babies don’t end up being smaller than children conceived naturally, research claimed today.

Fertility experts found differences in height, weight or body size normally even out once they hit their late teenage years

Parents should be ‘reassured’ by the ‘important work’, the University of Bristol team claimed

Lead author Dr Ahmed Elhakeem, an epidemiologist, said: ‘In the UK just over one in 30 children have been conceived by assisted reproduction.

‘So we would expect on average one child in each primary school class to have been conceived this way.

‘Since the first birth of a child by IVF, concerns have been raised about the risks to the children conceived.

‘Parents and their children can be reassured that this might mean they are a little bit smaller and lighter from infancy to adolescence, but these differences are unlikely to have any health implications.’

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, tracked more than 158,000 children into adulthood.

It included roughly 2.5 percent who were conceived through assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF.

They looked at height, weight and BMI data in children born via natural conception or ‘assisted reproductive technology’ at different ages.

Their bodyfat percentage and waist circumference were also compared.

Children came from countries in Europe — including the UK — as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China and Singapore.

Statistical analysis showed children aged less than three months old were around 0.27cm shorter, on average, than those born via natural conception.

But as they got older, the difference got smaller, with naturally-conceived children only 0.06cm taller by the time they were 17, on average.

A similar trend was spotted for weight, with babies born 0.27kg lighter if they were conceived through artificial methods, on average.

In adulthood they were actually 0.07kg heavier, however.

Children born through fertility treatment had a BMI that was 0.09 marks higher by the time they turned 17, despite being 0.18 lower as an infant.

Peter Thompson, chief executive of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said: ‘Around one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving in the UK which leads to around 53,000 patients a year having fertility treatment (IVF or donor insemination).

‘The findings from this study will come as a welcome relief to these patients who begin treatment in the hope of one day having healthy children of their own.

‘Health outcomes in children conceived using assisted reproductive technology is a high priority for the HFEA and we monitor the latest research and provide information for patients and professionals.

‘Anyone considering fertility treatment can access this and other high-quality impartial information on fertility treatments and UK licensed clinics at’

Women under 42 who are struggling to conceive should be given three cycles of IVF under NHS guidelines.

But local health chiefs decide who can access funded treatment, leading to a ‘postcode lottery’ across Britain.

Some trusts offer the recommended cycles, others don’t.

The Government’s long-awaited Women’s Health Strategy published last week aims to reduce this imbalance, while broadening who is able to get it for free.

– Daily Mail


In-vitro fertilisation, known as IVF, is a medical procedure in which a woman has an already-fertilised egg inserted into her womb to become pregnant.

It is used when couples are unable to conceive naturally, and a sperm and egg are removed from their bodies and combined in a laboratory before the embryo is inserted into the woman.

Once the embryo is in the womb, the pregnancy should continue as normal.

The procedure can be done using eggs and sperm from a couple or those from donors.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that IVF should be offered on the NHS to women under 43 who have been trying to conceive through regular unprotected sex for two years.

People can also pay for IVF privately, which costs an average of £3,348 for a single cycle, according to figures published in January 2018, and there is no guarantee of success.

The NHS says success rates for women under 35 are about 29 percent, with the chance of a successful cycle reducing as they age.

Around eight million babies are thought to have been born due to IVF since the first ever case, British woman Louise Brown, was born in 1978.