A Swedish study in the medical journal The Lancet suggests that IVF children have a higher risk of developing neurological problems, including cerebral palsy.
The researchers, led by Bo Stromberg, compared 5,680 children born from IVF with a control group of 11,360 other children. A group of 2,060 IVF twins was also compared to another control group of 4,120 twins. The researchers found that children born from IVF were about three times more likely to develop cerebral palsy than other children and four times more likely to have some developmental delay. However, the researchers also discovered that there was no increased risk of developing neurological disorders for IVF twins compared to the control group.
Suggesting reasons for their findings, Stromberg said; 'Our study suggests that children born after IVF have an increased risk of developing neurological problems, especially cerebral palsy. These risks are largely due to the high frequency of twin pregnancies, low birthweight, and prematurity among babies born after IVF.' The authors of the study concluded that only one embryo should be transferred to the womb in IVF treatments.
Commenting on the findings of the Swedish researchers, David Healy and Kerryn Saunders from Australia's Monash University, said that the study was 'valuable' but that further clinical studies would be necessary in order to determine the absolute risk for people considering IVF.