Children conceived through fertility treatment more likely to have mental health issues
Doctors urged to be aware of risk of psychiatric disorders among children born to women with fertility problems
Children conceived through fertility treatment are more likely to have psychiatric problems
By Sarah Knapton /national news, Science Correspondent
7:30AM BST 30 Jun 201457 Comments
Children conceived through fertility treatment like IVF are one third more likely to have psychiatric problems such as autism or schizophrenia than those born naturally, research suggests.
Although the increased risk was described as "modest" researchers found it persisted throughout childhood into adulthood.
However researchers believe that it is not fertility procedures that are to blame but rather mothers who struggle to get pregnant are passing down faulty genes to their offspring.
Dr Allan Jensen of the University of Copenhagen said fertility doctors needed to be aware of "the small, but potentially increased risk of psychiatric disorders among the children born to women with fertility problems."
However, this knowledge, he added, "should always be balanced against the physical and psychological benefits of a pregnancy."
The study was the first large scale research that compared mental disorders such as schizophrenia or autism in children born naturally and those born to mothers who had fertility treatments.
It looked at a total of 2,430,826 children, five per cent of whom were born to women with registered fertility problems, born between 1969 and 2006 and whether there were any reported psychiatric disorders.
It found 170,240 children were admitted to hospital for a psychiatric disorder but children born to mothers with fertility problems had a 33 per cent greater overall risk of any defined psychiatric disorders
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