Review| Volume 154, ISSUE 2, P125-129, February 2011

The impact of in vitro fertilization on health of the children: an update

Published:November 01, 2010DOI:


      Infertile couples make up approximately 10% of the worldwide population, and around 1% of current live births are a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Since the time that this technology was first applied, many studies have been performed in order to determine the risk associated with infertility treatments. Short- and long-term risks have been identified, which confirm that the major complications are due to multiple pregnancies. In a previous study we described in detail the main reproductive processes, the techniques for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the risks associated with each of them, with a focus on intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In this review we provide an update from 2007 to the present. In particular, in addition to new information on post-pregnancy complications and infant morbidity and malformations, we report data on rare syndromes, including recent case reports. Although data are controversial, an association between IVF and a minor increase in the incidence of birth defects has been confirmed. Several lines of evidence also suggest that there may be a link between ART and psychological disorders in the parents and the child. Finally, recent findings draw attention to the need for accurate clinical and psychological counselling of couples before any treatment decisions are made.


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