Great news for those considering fertility treatment: A recent study has found that the health of children born with the help of fertility treatments has improved substantially over the past 20 years.
Fewer babies are being born prematurely or with low birth weight. There are also fewer stillbirths or deaths within the first year of life, researchers in Denmark found. The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.
The researchers reviewed the health outcomes of more than 62,000 single babies and nearly 30,000 twins born with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The babies were born in Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden between 1988 and 2007. These children were compared with more than 350,000 singletons and about 123,000 twins born without the help of advanced fertility treatments in those countries during the same years.
Over the study period, the researchers discovered that fewer singleton babies conceived through fertility treatments were born with a low birth weight of about 5.5 pounds or very low birth weight (about 3 pounds). They also found that the rates for stillbirths and deaths within the first year of life dropped for both singletons and twins conceived through ART.
“These findings show convincingly that while there has been a considerable increase in assisted reproduction cycles over the past 20 years, this has been accompanied by a significant improvement in health outcomes for these babies, particularly for singleton babies,” the researchers said.