Background Worldwide, more than five million babies have been born as a result of assisted reproduction technology. Safety aspects are therefore crucial to consider.
Aim By review of the literature to assess if children conceived by assisted reproduction technology are at increased risk of somatic morbidity after the newborn period compared with spontaneously conceived children.
Methods Medline/Pubmed, Embase and The Cochrane Library were searched on May 20, 2013. Studies on assisted reproduction technology and post-neonatal somatic diseases were included in the systematic review. Furthermore, health care contacts, chronic illnesses, surgery, medication and mortality were considered. Cohort and case-control studies were included. To assess the risk of bias in the individual studies, quality of all studies were evaluated independently by two of the authors, using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The PRISMA statement for systematic reviews was followed.
Results Thirty-eight studies, out of 819 identified studies, were included. Results indicate that children conceived by assisted reproduction technology are at increased risk of leukaemia and retinoblastoma, asthma and obstructive bronchitis, genitourinary diseases, and epilepsy or convulsions when compared with spontaneously conceived children. Furthermore, it appears that children conceived by assisted reproduction technology are hospitalised longer per admission, compared with spontaneously conceived children.
Conclusion Children conceived by assisted reproduction technology may be at increased risk of various somatic diseases in childhood compared with spontaneously conceived children.
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