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Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in reproductive and developmental medicine at the University of Sheffield and chairman of the British Fertility Society, said those embarking on IVF should feel reassured by the reports findings, he said:
Study leader Dr Avi Reichenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said:
The researchers insisted the research should not hinder childless couples seeking IVF treatment.Co-author Dr Karl-Gosta Nygren, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said:
Compared with 'natural' conception, IVF overall had no effect on autism rates and led to a very small 18% increased risk of low IQ which appeared to be linked to multiple births.
The significant findings only emerged when researchers compared six different types of IVF involving the standard "mixing-in-a-dish" method of fertilising eggs or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (Icsi).
Icsi used with fresh or frozen embryos produced 51% more intellectually impaired children than standard IVF.
The direct injection method, Icsi, was originally developed to help infertile men, but it now makes up half of IVF treatments in the UK including those resulting from female fertility problems.
Certain forms of IVF treatment are significantly associated with an increased risk of low intelligence in children, a major study has shown.
A link was also found with an especially severe type of autism, but only in the case of twins or triplets.
Scientists who analysed data on more than 2.5 million births stressed that the chances of an IVF baby being affected remained tiny in real terms.
The Swedish study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first of its kind to compare a wide range of IVF treatments.