Studies on autism and IVF confirm that infertility treatments do not affect a child’s early development. Whew! That’s reassuring news for new parents who conceived their baby through the miracle of modern medicine and those still hopeful that their infertility struggles will end with a positive pregnancy test.
Patients going though fertility issues have already been put through the wringer emotionally, physically & financially. Yet parents successful through fertility treatments unanimously say it was all worth it. That beautiful bundle of joy was worth all the pain and suffering.
Then came the rumors that infertility treatments posed a greater risk for a child’s development, causing delays and autism. You could almost feel the rug being ripped out from under these folks. Haven’t they been through enough? But as it turns out, the rumors (thankfully) weren’t true.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.1% of all infants in the US are conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF). So the concern over their child’s development was all too real.
Lingering concerns over child’s development
Edwina Yeung is a researcher at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She explained that there had been lingering concerns about the development of children conceived through infertility treatments. But these concerns had been unfounded. A few studies (partly based on animal research) suggested certain types of fertility treatment might affect a child’d development. But many others have found no such link, the researcher said.
Yeung was the author of a study published online January 2016 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The study followed over 5,800 children born in New York state between 2008 and 2010. They included 1,830 children conceived through various forms of infertility treatment. It included fertility drugs and treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), frozen embryo transfer, ICSI, and the non-ART treatment ovulation induction, with or without intrauterine insemination (IUI). It also accounted for factors such as parents’ age, education levels and mothers’ smoking and drinking habits during pregnancy.
The result? Children conceived through infertility treatment were at no higher risk for early developmental delays at the age of 3 than their peers whose parents conceived naturally.
Original post January 8, 2016
Updated April 1, 2021
Updated April 1, 2023