IVF kid-1

Kids conceived by IVF excel academically

U. IOWA (US) — Children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) perform better than age- and gender-matched peers on academic tests, according to a new study.

“Our findings are reassuring for clinicians and patients as they suggest that being conceived through IVF does not have any detrimental effects on a child’s intelligence or cognitive development,” says Bradley Van Voorhis, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa.

Details are published in the October issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

Van Voorhis compared the academic performance of 423 Iowa children, ages 8 to 17, who were conceived by IVF at UI Hospitals and Clinics with the performance of 372 age- and gender-matched peers from the same Iowa schools.

Researchers also analyzed whether different characteristics of the children, parents, or IVF methods affected children’s test scores.

The study found that children born by IVF performed above average on standardized tests compared to their peers, and that a number of factors were linked to higher test scores, including older age of the mother, higher education levels of both parents, and lower levels of divorce.

Importantly, the study also showed that different IVF procedures—using fresh versus frozen embryos—and different methods of insemination had no effect on children’s test scores.

Although the study was not able to fully explain why children conceived by IVF performed better than their peers, Van Voorhis speculates that parents of children conceive by IVF might be older and have higher levels of education than average.

“By using age- and gender-matched children from the same classrooms as a control group to compare to our study participants, we attempted to control for any socioeconomic or environmental differences between the children born by IVF and their peers,” Van Voorhis says.

“But there still may have been some differences between the IVF children and the controls that we could not see from our data.”

Among children born by IVF, the researchers did find a potentially concerning trend toward worse test scores for multiple births—single babies performed better than twins, who performed better than triplets.

However, this trend was not statistically significant and the triplets still did better than the average score of non-IVF children.

“This trend fits with our thinking that singleton births are healthier than multiple births, but we would need further study to find out if this trend is a real effect,” Van Voorhis says.

IVF is generally considered safe but the technology has only been used for about 30 years, so there is a lack of data on long-term health outcomes for children conceived this way.

More news from University of Iowa: http://news.uiowa.edu/

chat7 Comments


  1. NewEnglandBob

    “Although the study was not able to fully explain why children conceived by IVF performed better than their peers…”

    Because these are motivated parents. They are motivated to have children and probably more motivated to raise them than parent who only need to put plug A into socket B.

  2. Louise

    I completely agree with the previous post. These are people who strive for years and often go through hell in order to achieve their dream of having children. They take nothing for granted and give their all to their kids. IVF’ers make great parents!!

  3. Mark Plus

    Well of course IVF kids would tend to do better. They came into existence through intelligent design, not through the sloppy, unplanned, haphazard way the rest of us get conceived.

    I mean, seriously, how many conceptions happen because some young man forgot to stop by the drug store on the way to his hot date at the drive-in, or some young woman had a little too much alcohol? IVF removes such irrational circumstances from the propagation of the human species.

  4. krissy

    If you have $50,000 to conceive you can give your kid all the help he needs for school.

  5. Tony P

    I think a few factors are at play here.

    1) In IVF they select the most viable candidates to implant.

    2) Prenatal care is greatly intensified.

    3) Last but not least, parental involvement. People who choose IVF WANT those children. So there is going to be more parent involvement and consistency.

  6. David

    As the previous posters have noted, both the parents strong desire to raise children as well as probably being financially well off enough to provide for them are the glaringly obvious likely conclusions to this.

    This reminds me of one of the original studies of smokers wherein the interpretation of the data was that smoking was found to prevent alzheimers. That is until someone realized it was because the studied population had died long before the traditional onset.

  7. michelle rios

    I am a mother of boy/girl twins through the miracle of IVF (frozen cycle) with Dr. Syrop. My husband and I notice the development is more increased with the level of older sibling interaction. I am a teacher at a private school so I am educated in the areas of early childhood development; so yes education plays an important role as well. My husband is a stay at home dad. We are fortunate to contribute to these successful statistics. However, I agree that yes the success rates of higher development contribute to: 1.) My stay at home husband is able to give them the one on one time to work with motor skills and cognitive development. 2.) I have the background knowledge of how to communicate learning skills with the twins. 3.) Older siblings constant interaction with them (16mths old currently.)

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