IVF Children are Taller and Have Better Cholesterol Profiles

IVF children are taller and have better cholesterol profiles

A number of studies have been performed to determine whether children conceived as a result of IVF have any greater health risks than children conceived in other ways. Some studies indicate that IVF children may be at greater risk for complications during pregnancy and birth defects. Other studies argue that IVF children may be smaller at birth than other children.

A recent study conducted with New Zealand school-aged children compared 50 children conceived as a result of IVF to 60 who were conceived naturally. The children were aged 7 to 9 at the time of the study.

The authors of this study found that 15% of the IVF group was smaller at birth than expected for their gestational age. However by the time of the study, the IVF group was taller on average than the naturally conceived children. The difference in height was even more pronounced amongst females. The authors controlled for several variables :

  • All of the children were born as singletons
  • All of the children were delivered at full term.
  • The two groups were matched to control for the height differences of the parents.

Another interesting difference is that the IVF children had better cholesterol profiles. For example, the mean HDL “good” cholesterol for IVF conceived children was higher compared to naturally conceived controls. There was a trend toward lower triglycerides and significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol in IVF conceived children.

The same problems that have affected studies showing possible problems with the health of IVF children, also affected this study. Despite valid attempts to control for other variables, evidence points to the fact the couples who have babies from IVF are not the same as couples from the general population and therefore using the general population as a control group is probably not valid.

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