Children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) are as healthy as their naturally-conceived peers, according to a study published on Wednesday.
The study, compiled by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), found that IVF children were healthy physically, mentally and emotionally by the time they reached school age, Xinhua news agency reports.
Lead researcher David Amor said the results should provide peace of mind for parents of IVF children as the number of births from sperm donor conception has doubled in Victoria since 2010. “Women and couples who are choosing donors put a lot of thought and effort selecting them,” the report quoted Amor as telling the Australian media.
“The IVF services put a lot of effort into recruiting donors. The information the recipient gets about the donor is fairly minimal,” he added.
Amor said, “There’s some general health screening, but we don’t know if these men are representational of the general population. Given IVF is undergoing a bit of a renaissance in terms of the demand, these findings should be reassuring for parents.”
For this study, the mothers of 224 Victorian IVF children were asked to fill out a survey on the health and well-being of their kids as well as themselves. Results indicated that donor-conceived children had more special health needs than naturally-conceived children but IVF children generally had a healthier family life, the report said.
Amor said that both of those results could be explained by the parents of IVF children being more protective of their own kids.
He said that researchers would now move on to study the health of IVF children who are now in their own child-bearing years.