Mental disorders in children conceived after fertility treatment

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5257 (Published 28 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5257
  1. Michael Davies, professor
  1. 1Research Centre for the Early Origins of Disease, Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
  1. michael.davies{at}adelaide.edu.au

High quality follow-up studies are needed of specific treatments and outcomes

With more than 5 million people born after assisted reproductive technologies (ART) the transition from experimental to routine treatment is well under way. However, with innovation continuing apace, the consequences for the resulting offspring are still not fully understood.

Many outcomes related to growth and development take years to appear. Studies have reported an increased risk of structural abnormalities in babies born after these technologies_ENREF_2,1 2 3 but the full range of developmental milestones and capacities needs to be investigated. Some jurisdictions require that outcomes of ART treatments are reported to centralised government registries, but outcomes are confined to events in pregnancy and possibly shortly thereafter. Population registries, and their linkage, are therefore an invaluable resource of reliable, robust measures of association between ART exposures and longer term disease outcomes. Two recently published studies have moved beyond considering structural anomalies and have examined mental disorders in children born after ART treatment using linked registries.4 5

The recent BMJ study from Denmark by Bay and colleagues used national registries to link numerous infertility treatments to cognitive …

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