Saturday, May 23, 2009

IVF and the health of the future baby

Although bioethicists and policymakers often debate the merits and the permissible boundaries of assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs), IVF seems to be a (ethical) given even in more conservative legal environments: couples ought to be able to have children with IVF. It is important, however, to keep looking at health outcomes to make sure that the empirical foundation of an ethical argument is solid.

Human reproduction published two papers that advance our understanding of ARTs. The first paper shows that IVF twins are far more likely to need hospital treatment than naturally-conceived twins. Normally conceived twins are healthier and IVF twins spend about an extra 4 days in hospital after birth, have an almost 4-fold increased risk of admission to neo-natal intensive care, and an increased risk of hospital admission in the first three years. The second paper shows that
children born from embryos that were frozen and stored are as healthy as other artificially conceived youngsters.

No comments: