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  • Posted April 3, 2023

Being Born Through Fertility Treatments Won't Affect Your Own Pregnancies, Study Finds

New research finds that children born after fertility treatments have no increased risk of complications when they themselves later become pregnant.

Norwegian researchers found that while the individuals who were conceived through assisted reproductive technology (ART) in 1984 or later have fewer children than their peers so far, their babies do not have significant differences in birth weight.

The individuals also don't have any major differences in duration of pregnancy or risk of pregnancy-related conditions, such as preeclampsia or cesarean section.

"The good news from the study is that people born after assisted reproductive technologies had no more complications in their pregnancies compared to the control group. However, they may have their children a little later in life," said lead study author Ellen Øen Carlsen, a Ph.D. fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

The first-ever child conceived via ART in Norway was born in 1984. Now, more than 50,000 babies have been born using these technologies in that country.

Some uncertainty still exists about the results because the birth numbers are low, said researchers at the institute's Centre for Fertility and Health.

"Since their parents have had difficulty conceiving, it would not be surprising if their children also face challenges related to fertility," Carlsen said in an institute news release.

It's too early to say whether those lower numbers will continue because these individuals are still young enough to conceive.

"We also see that some of the differences in fertility can be explained by the year they were born and the age of their own mother when she had children. This may indicate social rather than biological reasons for the differences," Carlsen noted.

Pregnancies resulting from ART have an increased risk of various pregnancy complications, so whether that would be true of their children was uncertain.

"Since it is relatively recent that the first generations who were conceived after assisted reproductive technologies have reached adulthood, it has not been possible to investigate this until now," Carlsen said.

A detailed registry of all births in Norway since 1967 is now providing a good overview of several generations, according to the study.

"In general, the results of the study are good news for those who were conceived after assisted reproductive technologies. But we need to follow more cohorts and have larger numbers before we can draw finite conclusions," Carlsen said.

The findings were published recently in BMJ Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on assisted reproductive technology.

SOURCE: Norwegian Institute of Public Health, news release, March 30, 2023

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