Health Implications for Young Adults Conceived Following Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Investigators: Prof Jane Halliday 1, Dr Sharon Lewis 1, Prof Robert McLachlan2,3.

1 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville; 2 Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton; 3 Monash IVF, Clayton.

Many common adult non-communicable diseases (NCD), particularly cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory conditions, have their origins in early life, possibly before birth. The risk trajectories track through childhood until clinical disease manifests in adulthood. Conception by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has been suggested as adding to the risk profile for a range of adult onset NCD, however adequately powered and detailed studies are lacking. As the number of ART-conceived children reaching adulthood is accumulating, any health problems associated with ART that manifest as the child grows older will result in the magnitude of these problems increasing dramatically in the near future. The aim of this study was to investigate the long term safety of ART by characterising the cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory status of a large cohort of young adults conceived by ART and of age- and sex-matched spontaneously conceived controls, using standardised, validated non-invasive assessment tools. This study addressed significant gaps in knowledge of outcomes beyond adolescence and showed that young adult reported outcomes were similar for both groups.

The results for this project were published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility in 2014.

Reference: Halliday J, Wilson C, Hammarberg K, Doyle LW, Bruinsma F, McLachlan R, et al. Comparing indicators of health and development of singleton young adults conceived with and without assisted reproductive technology. Fertil Steril. 2014 Apr;101(4):1055-63.


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