Study finds IVF adults just as healthy

Double the joy:
Double the joy: "It wasn't something you could go down the pub and talk to your mates about," says ART parent Sandra Fisk, pictured with twins Brittany and Lacinda. Lacinda is 2014 Sutherland Shire Young Citizen of the Year. Picture: Lisa McMahon

YOUNG adults conceived through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have grown up to be as healthy as those conceived naturally.

But a higher rate of hospitalisation, asthma and hay fever among IVF babies warranted further investigation, researchers found.

The finding, contained in the world's largest study into ART and young adults, was comforting news to Sandra and David Fisk, of Menai, whose twins Brittany and Lacinda were conceived through IVF 17 years go.

"We had relatives say things like 'I don't believe in IVF' so it was definitely something I had to challenge myself with [and ask]: 'Am I pushing science too far?'"

Sandra Fisk

Mrs Fisk said she had "certainly thought about" the potential legacies of IVF given its use was met with some objections by family members.

"We had relatives say things like 'I don't believe in IVF' so it was definitely something I had to challenge myself with [and ask]: 'Am I pushing science too far?'," she said.

The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute led study found ART children had a higher rate of hospitalisation, asthma and hay fever. While this was attributed to ART parents worrying more about their children's health, researchers said it warranted more investigation.

IVF Australia director and head of Women's and Children's Health at St George Hospital, Michael Chapman, said asthma was a disease "that perhaps comes to the fore in parents who take their children to the doctors if they have a sneeze or cough".

"People are much more open, much more accepting that this [IVF] is a real treatment for a medical condition and people are much more willing to talk about that they have had it," Professor Chapman said.

Mrs Fisk agreed parents of IVF babies were "maybe more protective" of their child and might "seek medical advice earlier".

The Fisk siblings have coeliac disease (like their aunt) and Brittany had reflux as a toddler; however, there was no known link to IVF.

The study of 656 mothers of children aged 18 to 29 found no evidence of increased rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in ART children.

IVF Australia will hold an information session on Tuesday, March 18.

Details: 1800 111 483 or ivf.com.au

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