The heart health of children conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) is similar to that of their naturally conceived peers, researchers have found.
The large study found no robust difference in blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol and glucose measurements between kids conceived naturally and those conceived using assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as IVF.
“This is the largest study of its kind," said lead study author Dr. Ahmed Elhakeem, a research fellow in epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
“Parents conceiving or hoping to conceive through assisted reproductive technology and their offspring should be reassured that cardiometabolic health appears to be comparable in ART-conceived and naturally conceived children,” Elhakeem said in a university news release.
Since the birth of the first "test tube baby" in 1978, there have been questions regarding the health of children conceived through IVF.
The data used for this study was from 8,600 children in Bristol’s Children of the 90s study, which has followed pregnant women and their offspring since 1991.
The researchers looked at information on 35,000 European, Singaporean and Australian offspring from childhood up to their early 20s.
Those who were conceived by ART had slightly higher cholesterol levels in childhood, but that did not persist to adulthood. There was some indication of slightly higher blood pressure in adulthood.
“Studies with longer follow-up would now be beneficial to examine how results might change across adulthood,” Elhakeem said.
The study findings were published Feb. 6 in the European Heart Journal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on assisted reproductive technology.
SOURCE: University of Bristol, news release, Feb. 3, 2023