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Highlights from the literature

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Infertility treatment and mental health

As Lucina is the Roman goddess of childbirth, it seems appropriate that I start my first Highlights page with a perinatal topic. A study using the comprehensive Danish National Health Records linked infertility treatment to psychiatric diagnoses in the children thus conceived, aged 8-17 (BMJ 2013;347:f3978). Over 33 000 were compared to 556 000 conceived naturally. They found no associations for those born after full in vitro fertilisation (IVF), but small significant increased risks for those born after ovulation induction, with or without insemination: for these the overall odds ratio for any psychiatric diagnosis was 1.20 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.31; absolute risk 4.1%) with tic and conduct disorders, hyperkinetic, and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) featuring most prominently. This makes an interesting contrast to a similar study featured in last month's Highlights from neighbouring Sweden, where an association was found between ASD and conception by IVF using surgical sperm extraction. Hormone treatment given to the mother does not appear to be a risk. The relationships here are complex and probably more to do with heritable characteristics …

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