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IVF low child intelligence link

Certain forms of IVF treatment are significantly associated with an increased risk of low intelligence in children, a major study has shown.

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IVF findings 'should not stop parents using fertility treatments'

Study leader Dr Avi Reichenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said:

Our study shows that treatments developed to manage male infertility are associated with an increased risk for developmental disorders in offspring.

The exact mechanism is unclear, but there are a number of risk factors, from selection of IVF procedures, to multiple embryos, and to pre-term birth.

Whilst intellectual disability or autism remain a rare outcome for IVF, being aware of the increased risk associated with specific types of IVF means offspring at risk can be identified and potentially monitored for developmental disorders, ensuring they receive early detection and appropriate support and care.

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:

There's no question that we would stop any treatment or anything like that because of the findings. On the contrary, the results are reassuring.

It's important to remember that the majority of children are born perfectly healthily following IVF.

Our study provides much-needed information for parents and clinicians on the relative risks of modern IVF treatments, enabling them to make the most informed choice possible.

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