Children conceived through IVF do not develop differently, study finds

Children conceived through IVF do NOT develop differently: Study finds difference in their height, weight and body frame disappears by late teens

  • IVF children tend to be smaller, thinner and less heavy in the early age groups
  • A study of 158,000 children found that these differences disappear by age 17
  • Researchers from the University of Bristol say parents need to be ‘reassured’

IVF babies end up being no less than children conceived naturally, according to today’s research.

Fertility experts have found that differences in height, weight or body size tend to even out by the time they reach their late teenage years.

Parents should be ‘reassured’ of ‘important work’, the University of Bristol team claims.

Lead author Dr Ahmed Elhakim, an epidemiologist, said: “In the UK, just over 30 children have been conceived using assisted reproduction.

“Thus, we would expect an average of one child in each grade of primary school to be conceived in this way.”

“Since the first birth of a child through IVF, concerns have been raised about the risks to the conceived children.

“Parents and their children can be reassured that this may mean they are slightly smaller and lighter from childhood to adolescence, but these differences are unlikely to have any health implications.”

IVF babies end up being no different in height, weight or build from those born naturally, a study led by the University of Bristol claims today.

IVF babies end up being no different in height, weight or build from those born naturally, a study led by the University of Bristol claims today.


In vitro fertilization, known as IVF, is a medical procedure in which a fertilized egg is inserted into a woman’s uterus in order to become pregnant.

It is used when couples cannot conceive naturally, and the sperm and egg are removed from their bodies and combined in a laboratory before the embryo is implanted into the woman.

Once the embryo is in the uterus, the pregnancy should continue as normal.

The procedure can be done using eggs and sperm from the couple or from a donor.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that IVF should be offered on the NHS to women under 43 who have been trying to conceive through regular unprotected sex for two years.

People can also pay privately for IVF, which costs an average of £3,348 for one cycle, according to figures published in January 2018, and there is no guarantee of success.

The NHS says the success rate for women under 35 is around 29 per cent, with the chance of a successful cycle decreasing as they get older.

Around eight million babies are thought to have been born through IVF since the first case, British woman Louise Brown, was born in 1978.

Chances of success

The success of IVF depends on the age of the woman being treated, as well as on the cause of infertility (if known).

Younger women are more likely to have a successful pregnancy.

IVF is usually not recommended for women over the age of 42 because the chances of a successful pregnancy are considered too low.

Between 2014 and 2016, the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in a live birth was:

29 percent for women under the age of 35

23 percent for women aged 35 to 37

15 percent for women aged 38 to 39

9 percent for women aged 40 to 42

3 percent for women aged 43 to 44

2 percent for women over 44

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, followed more than 158,000 children into adulthood.

It includes approximately 2.5 percent of those conceived using assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF.

They looked at data on height, weight and BMI of children born through natural conception or ‘assisted reproductive technology’ at different ages.

Their body fat percentage and waist circumference were also compared.

The children came from European countries — including Great Britain — as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China and Singapore.

Statistical analysis showed that children younger than three months were on average about 0.27 cm shorter than those born by natural conception.

But as they got older, the difference narrowed, with naturally conceived children averaging just 0.06cm taller by the time they were 17.

A similar trend was seen in weight, with babies born on average 0.27 kg lighter if conceived artificially.

However, in adulthood they were actually 0.07 kg heavier.

Children born through fertility treatment had a BMI that was 0.09 marks higher by age 17, although it was 0.18 lower as a baby.

Peter Thompson, chief executive of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said: “Around one in seven couples in the UK have difficulty conceiving, resulting in around 53,000 patients a year having fertility treatment (IVF or in vitro fertilization). donor).

“The findings from this study will come as a welcome relief to these patients who begin treatment in the hope of one day having healthy children of their own.”

“Health outcomes for children conceived using assisted reproductive technology are a high priority for the HFEA and we are following the latest research and providing information to patients and professionals.

“Anyone considering infertility treatment can access this and other high-quality, impartial information about UK-licensed fertility treatments and clinics at”

Women under 42 who are struggling to conceive should be given three cycles of IVF according to NHS guidelines.

But local health bosses decide who can access funded treatment, leading to a ‘postcode lottery’ across Britain.

Some trusts offer recommended cycles, others do not.

The Government’s long-awaited Women’s Health Strategy published last week aims to reduce this imbalance while expanding who can get it for free.


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