Children Conceived by IVF Showed No Red Flags in Behavior


Major Finding: The prevalence of any abnormal behavior was not significantly different for children conceived with IVF versus those conceived without IVF.

Data Source: A retrospective cohort study of 213 5-year-olds.

Disclosures: The study was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant. Dr. Molinaro and his associates disclosed no conflicts of interest.

ATLANTA — Children conceived with in vitro fertilization have the same number of parent-reported abnormal childhood behaviors as those conceived naturally, based on a retrospective cohort study of 213 5-year-olds.

The prevalence of any abnormal behavior on the validated Child Behavior Checklist was not significantly different at 10.5% for children conceived with IVF versus 10.2% for those conceived without IVF (P = .9; odds ratio, 1.03).

There also were no significant differences between groups in the prevalence of individual abnormal behaviors, Dr. Thomas Molinaro reported in a poster at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Some of the behavioral domains assessed in the IVF and unassisted groups were anxiety (2.9% vs. 4.7%), attention (1.9% vs. 0.9%), social behavior (0% vs. 1.8%), aggression (1.9% vs. 0.9%), and depression (1.9% vs. 2.8%).

“I'm reassured that at least there's no huge signal jumping out, even with the small sample size that we have,” Dr. Molinaro said during a press briefing at the meeting. “It's not like there's a twofold difference in either direction.”

“While the factors involved in childhood development are complex, it is likely that any contribution of assisted reproductive technology is negligible or subtle,” Dr. Molinaro, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and his associates wrote.

The 105 IVF-conceived children and 108 control children were not different in terms of pregnancy complications (19% vs. 15%), birth weight (3,476 g vs. 3,534 g), or gestational age (39.1 vs. 39.6 weeks).

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