Being born by assisted reproduction has no effects on mental health

MADRID, December 16 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The use of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) does not lead to worse mental health in children during adolescence and youth, according to a large observational study led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, published in the journal ‘JAMA Psychiatry’, which has revealed a slightly higher risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children born after surgery, but this is explained by parental origin factors.

“These results are generally reassuring when it comes to the psychiatric health of adolescents conceived with ART, a group that we can now follow for the first time into early adulthood,” says the study’s corresponding author. , Chen Wang, a doctoral student in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute.

Since 1978, more than 9 million children have been born after the use of assisted reproductive techniques. In vitro fertilization (IVF) has revolutionized infertility treatment so much that Robert G. Edwards received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for its development. However, previous studies have linked the use of IVF with some unwanted birth outcomes, such as an increased risk of birth defects, premature births, and low birth weight.

Knowledge about the long-term health of children conceived with ART remains limited. Now researchers at the Karolinska Institute have carried out the first large study on the mental health of young adults born in Sweden after antiretroviral therapy.

Using individually linked population data, the researchers were able to follow more than 1.2 million people born in Sweden between 1994 and 2006, including 31,565 participants conceived with ART.

The participants were between the ages of 12 and 25 when the study ended. The researchers also had access to record-based information on clinical diagnoses of mood disorders, such as major depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or suicidal behavior.

Aside from the possible effects of the intervention, certain traits and characteristics that may be more common in couples undergoing antiretroviral therapy could also play a role in the long-term health of their children.

Therefore, the researchers took special care to separate the role of treatment from the influence of a wide range of parental background factors, such as infertility, maternal and paternal age, education, and mental health history.

“Ultimately, we did not find that ART use had any adverse influence on the psychiatric health of children as they progressed to adolescence. Individuals conceived with ART had a slightly increased risk of OCD compared to the general population. , but this was explained by differences in parental antecedents, since this excess risk was no longer present after adjustment for various parental characteristics, “says author Sara Öberg, associate professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Karolinska Institute.

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Being born by assisted reproduction has no effects on mental health