Present-day IVF Babies Healthier: Scandinavian Study

  • A Scandinavian study revealed: Better techniques and policies have given children born from artificial fertilisation a much better chance of survival and good health.
  • Doctors looked at data from 1988 to 2007 from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden for more than 92,000 children born through assisted reproductive technology (ART), the term for in-vitro and other methods.
  • Of them, more than 62,000 were single births and more than 29,000 were twins.
  • The health of the babies at birth and in their first year of life was compared to that of children conceived without ART.
  • Anna-Karina Aaris Henningsen at the University of Copenhagen said: We observed a remarkable decline in the risk of being born preterm or very preterm.
  • The proportion of single ART babies born with a low or very low birth weight also decreased.
  • The rates for stillbirths and death during the first year declined among both singletons and twins
  • Fewer ART twins were stillborn or died during the first year compared with spontaneously conceived twins.
  • Several factors contributed to the improvement.
  • Laboratories became more skilled at culturing fertilised eggs before returning them to the uterus and hormonal drugs to stimulate ovaries for egg harvesting were milder than before.
  • The biggest gain, was in a policy change to encourage a single embryo implant at a time, not several.
  • Multiple embryos boost the chance of a live birth, but also raise the odds of having twins or triplets, which can result in lower birth weight and health complications.