There is no increased risk of mental health problems in teens and young adults who were conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), Swedish researchers report.
Although those born after assisted reproductive techniques did have a slightly higher risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), it owed to parental background factors, they said.
Since 1978, more than 9 million children worldwide have been born using assisted reproductive technology (ART). The most common type is IVF.
Knowledge about the long-term health of ART-conceived children remains limited, and previous studies have linked it to an increased risk of birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight.
In this study, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm focused on mental health in teens and young adults conceived with ART.
They analyzed data on more than 1.2 million people born in Sweden between 1994 and 2006, including more than 31,500 conceived with ART. The participants were between 12 and 25 years of age when the study concluded.
“In the end, we did not find that use of ART had any adverse influence on children’s psychiatric health as they go through adolescence,” said study co-author Dr. Sara Öberg, an associate professor of medical epidemiology and biostatistics.
“Individuals conceived with ART had a slightly elevated risk of OCD compared with the general population but this was explained by differences in the background of the parents, as this excess risk was no longer present after adjustment for various parental characteristics,” she said in an institute news release.
The study was published Dec. 15 in JAMA Psychiatry.
“These findings are overall reassuring with respect to the psychiatric health of adolescents conceived with ART, a group that we are now for the first time able to follow into early adulthood,” said study co-author Chen Wang, a doctoral student in medical epidemiology and biostatistics.
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more on ART.
SOURCE: Karolinska Institute, news release, Dec. 15, 2021