Do children conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), such as IVF have more advantage in adulthood than normally conceived? Many parents have asked this question for several years. Well, a recent study has claimed that being conceived through ART would provide some advantages in quality of life in adulthood.
“Our findings suggest that being ART-conceived can provide some advantages on quality of life in adulthood, independent of other psychosocial factors,” said lead author Karin Hammarberg of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Journal Human Fertility published the study.
Karin Hammarberg stated that the findings gave confidence to people who were conceived with ART and those who need ART to conceive.
The researchers held the study in 193 young adults who were conceived through ART and 86 through Naturally Conceived in the state of Victoria, Australia. These participants completed questionnaires, which included a standardised quality of life measure (World Health Organisation Quality of Life – Brief Assessment (WHOQOL-BREF), when aged 18-28 years (T1). They again repeated the procedure when aged 22-35 years (T2).
The WHOQOL- BREF assesses four domains of quality of life: physical, psychosocial, social relationships and environment.
The researchers looked at the associations between factors present at T1 (mode of conception, the mother’s age when the participant was born, sexual orientation, family financial situation in secondary school, perceptions of own weight, number of close friends, frequency of vigorous exercise and quality of relationships with parents) and the scores on the four domains of WHOQOL-BREF at T2.
The results showed that that being ART-conceived was strongly linked with higher scores (better quality of life) on both the social relationships and environment WHOQoL-BREF domains at T2. In addition, having less psychological distress, a more positive relationship with parents, a better financial situation, and perceptions of being about the right weight at T1 were associated with higher scores on one or more WHOQoL-BREF domains at T2.
“Children conceived via ART are nowadays a substantial part of the population – and it’s important to continue to evaluate the long-term effects of ART on their physical health and well-being as they progress through adolescence into adulthood,” said Hammarberg.
This is the first study to explore the contributions of being conceived with ART and psychosocial factors present in young adulthood to the quality of life of adults.