According to new research conducted on IVF children, it has been found that children who are conceived through assisted reproductive technology (ART), like IVF, may get some rewards in quality of life in adulthood. The study results have been published in the journal, ‘Human Fertility’. The study has confirmed the news for people who have been conceived with ART and those who need to use the technology to conceive.
“Our findings suggest that being ART-conceived can provide some advantages on quality of life in adulthood, independent of other psychosocial factors,” said lead author Karin Hammarberg of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
“Together with previous evidence that adults conceived by ART have the similar physical health to those who were naturally conceived, this is reassuring for people who were conceived with ART — and those who need ART to conceive,” he added.
More than 8 million children have been born as a result of ART in the more than four decades since the first birth as a result of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1978. Many studies have been conducted since then to compare the physical health, development, and psychosocial well-being of ART-conceived children to those born naturally (NC). However, little is known about the health and quality of life of adults who were conceived through ART.
This study included 193 young adults who were conceived through ART and 86 through NC in the Australian state of Victoria. When they were 18-28 years old (T1), these participants completed questionnaires that included a standardised quality of life measure (World Health Organization Quality of Life — Brief Assessment (WHOQoL-BREF)) and again when they were 22-35 years old (T2).
The WHOQoL-BREF assesses four domains of quality of life:
3) Social relationships
The researchers looked at the associations between factors present at T1 (mode of conception, the mother’s birth year, sexual orientation, family financial situation in secondary school, perceptions of own weight, number of close friends, frequency of vigorous exercise, and quality of relationships with parents) and WHOQoL-BREF scores at T2.
After accounting for other psychosocial factors present in young adulthood, the results revealed that being ART-conceived was strongly associated with higher scores (better quality of life) on both the social relationships and environment WHOQoL-BREF domains at T2. Furthermore, having less psychological distress, a better relationship with parents, a better financial situation, and perceptions of being at a healthy weight at T1 were associated with higher scores on one or more WHOQoL-BREF domains at T2.
“Children conceived via ART are nowadays a substantial part of the population — and it’s important to continue to evaluate the long-term effects of ART on their physical health and well-being as they progress through adolescence into adulthood,” said Hammarberg.
“When accounting for other factors present in young adulthood, being ART-conceived appears to confer some advantages in quality of life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we also found that, independently of how the person was conceived, having a better relationship with parents, less psychological distress, and a better family financial situation in young adulthood contributed to a better adult quality of life,” he concluded.