Adverse effects of IVF on children’s health - what is the truth?

In Switzerland in particular, there is growing awareness that IVF treatment not only leads to a slightly increased malformation rate, but also to functional changes in the children. These include changes in lipid metabolism, which are accompanied by an unfavourable distribution of body fat and a slightly increased blood pressure. Several but not all studies indicate that a link with IVF therapy is possible. However, this has not yet been confirmed for definite. It is also unclear whether such changes are relevant to children's health later in life.

What are the potential causes of these changes?

The following come into question:

  1. parental disposition,
  2. hormone stimulation during traditional IVF,
  3. fertilization technique in the laboratory,
  4. culture of oocytes / embryos after fertilization in the laboratory.

Factors 1 and 3 cannot be excluded.

Factor 2, hormone stimulation, can be largely avoided if IVF-Naturelle® is performed. Several studies, including our own study in Bern, have shown that children conceived after IVF have a slightly higher birth weight without hormone stimulation than after traditional IVF. Whether this is because traditional IVF leads to a genetic change in the embryos or to a poorer function of the lining of the womb, is still unclear.

There is also a large study of 4-year-old IVF children showing that children born after IVF without strong hormone stimulation have lower blood pressure levels than children born after traditional IVF.

Factor 4 can also be largely avoided. Embryo selection makes no sense with IVF-Naturelle®, and embryo transfer is possible shortly after fertilization. Longer artificial culture of embryos in the laboratory is therefore not required.

So back to the first question:

IVF seems to have health effects for the children and IVF-Naturelle® may be able to reduce these risks. However, further studies are needed to confirm this. It is also unclear whether the effects of IVF on children's health are relevant in the long term.