Study finds that babies born through IVF become smarter…but more prone to depression – Daily Mail

Research shows that babies born through IVF are smarter but more likely to have mental health problems than babies born naturally.

Experts at the University of Helsinki followed 280,000 young people born in Finland between 1995 and 2000 until their 18th birthday.

Children born using assisted pregnancy techniques did better in class and were less likely to drop out of high school.

However, they were more likely to have a mental health problem – especially anxiety or depression.

The researchers said the better school performance among IVF children may be because wealthier families are more likely to tolerate the procedure.

The increased risk of mental health problems persisted even when babies born through IVF were compared to siblings who were born naturally.

The researchers hypothesized that IVF parents might be more attentive to their children’s health and take them to the doctor more often.

A team from the University of Helsinki examined nearly 280,000 babies born in Finland between 1995 and 2000. About one in 20 were born through IVF, IVF and ovulation induction – known as medically assisted reproduction (MAR). While the group scored higher on school tests and were less likely to drop out of high school, they were also one percent more likely to suffer from mental health issues. Pictured: Stocks close to in vitro fertilization (IVF)

How common is infertility?

Infertility occurs when a couple is unable to conceive (pregnancy) despite having regular unprotected sex.

About 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving.

About 84 percent of couples will get pregnant naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex – defined as every two to three days.

For couples who have been trying to conceive for more than three years without success, the probability of conceiving naturally within the next year is one in four, or less.

Brits are advised to speak to their GP if they are unable to conceive after one year of trying.

Infertility usually occurs due to lack of regular ovulation, poor semen quality, blockage or damage to the fallopian tubes and endometriosis.

Fertility can also be affected by age, weight, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, alcohol, exposure to pesticides, and stress.

Fertility treatments include medications to encourage regular ovulation, surgical procedures to repair fallopian tubes or scarring and assisted contraception, such as IVF.

source: NHS

More than eight out of 10 pairs conceive normally within a year of trying.

Couples who have tried unsuccessfully to conceive can access treatments on the NHS such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) – when sperm is inserted into a woman’s uterus – and artificial insemination, when a fertilized egg is inserted into the uterus.

About 390,000 babies have been born in the UK by IVF since 1991, while there have been more than 1 million in the US. The annual rate has tripled in the past three decades.

In the latest study, researchers examined the health records of 266,925 Finnish children born naturally between 1995 and 2000, as well as 13,757 born through IVF, intrauterine insemination or ovulation induction.

The latter is when women are given fertility drugs to stimulate the follicles in the ovaries, which results in the production of multiple eggs in one cycle.

The study looked at their school and medical records when they were 16 or 18 years old.

The results, published in the European Journal of Population, showed that, compared to naturally born children, those conceived through an assisted pregnancy had higher mean scores (8 vs. 7.7), were less likely to drop out of school (2.4 per cent vs. 3.6. percent) and 18 percent less likely to leave home (11 percent versus 17 percent).

However, the researchers noted that these differences between the two groups “mostly disappeared” after taking into account family circumstances such as their parents’ wealth, relationship status and education.

They said that babies born despite IVF are more likely to come from wealthier families who may provide their children with more money, time and emotional investment that will benefit their education.

A private IVF treatment costs around £5,000 per cycle in the UK and $15,000 (£12,000) in the US.

A separate analysis showed that those who had conceived through an assisted pregnancy were 1 percent more likely to have anxiety and depression.

Nine percent of naturally conceived children had a mental health diagnosis in their late teens, compared to 10 percent among assisted pregnancies.

The researchers said that although the result is small as a percentage, it is significant.

Dr Hana Remes, a researcher at the University of Helsinki and lead author of the study, said the team could not yet explain this finding.

But she noted that couples may experience depression and anxiety in response to their struggles to have children, putting their children at greater risk of developing psychological problems.

Alternatively, parents who have used an assisted pregnancy may be “more concerned about their children’s well-being” and take them to see a doctor or hospital more often — increasing their chances of being diagnosed with mental health problems, among other conditions.

The team noted that the world’s oldest IVF baby is only 43 years old, so the research on the topic is “relatively new and unexplored.”

But given the rise in subsidized contraception, it is “crucial” to understand the long-term consequences for children and young adults, they said.

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