Intellectual disability risk for children conceived via ART is slightly increased

  • Pediatrics

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • For children born following conception through assisted reproductive technology (ART), intellectual disability (ID) risk is slightly increased.
  • Greater increases seen with very preterm birth or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Why this matters

Key results

  • The risk ratio (RR) for ID among children conceived via ART was 1.58 (95% CI, 1.19-2.11).
  • RR increase seen even with singleton births: 1.56 (1.10-2.21).
  • RR for ID was highest with ICSI: 2.54 (1.69-3.83).
  • For mild-moderate ID, with ART, RR was 1.51 (95% CI, 1.11-2.06).
  • For severe ID, RR was 2.55 (1.19-5.44).
  • ART-conceived children had older mothers, were more likely to be twins, be born preterm, and have a major birth defect.
  • Down syndrome accounted for 1 in 10 cases involving ID among ART-conceived children.

Study design

  • Data from population-based registers, Australia, for live births, 1994-2002 (n=210,627), ≥8 years of follow-up.
  • ID prevalence compared between ART- (1.4% of cohort; n=2876) and non-ART-conceived (207,751) children, risk-assessed.
  • Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council; Ferring Pharmaceuticals. 

Limitations

  • No adjustment for multiple comparisons.
  • Some CIs close to unity.
  • Some relevant maternal factors (e.g., obesity) not available.

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