Early studies on children born through assisted reproduction have shown that these children are more at-risk of cardiovascular issues, prematurity (twice as high as in natural pregnancy) and lower birth weight. These results are important because premature or smaller babies are more likely to develop long-term health problems (including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes).
Ovarian stimulation is common in assisted reproduction and requires high doses of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in order to produce as many eggs as possible. Researchers claim that these stimuli can diminish ovarian reserve and lead to the production of “poor quality eggs”.
Among the studies cited is a Swiss study which compared cardiovascular health in 65 preschool children born through fertility treatments with 57 children conceived naturally. The study found that those born through fertility treatments had “generalized vascular dysfunction”, including vascular stiffness and thicker carotid arteries, which pump blood to the head and neck. This could lead to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke in adulthood.
Dr Sherman Silber, a pioneer in IVF in the United States, will be presenting results this week in London at the annual congress of the International Society for Mild Approaches in Assisted Reproduction (ISMAAR), showing that more than 20 highly stimulated eggs are needed for a baby, while only four “normal” eggs yield the same results. According to Silber, “Hyper-stimulation is crazy, because you end up getting a lot of poor-quality eggs”.
New Zealand Herald (08/4/2018), The Telegraph (08/4/2018), The Sun (09/4/2018)