, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 359-371

Long-term follow-up of children conceived through assisted reproductive technology

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Abstract

Children conceived via assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are nowadays a substantial proportion of the population. It is important to follow up these children and evaluate whether they have elevated health risks compared to naturally conceived (NC) children. In recent years there has been a lot of work in this field. This review will summarize what is known about the health of ART-conceived children, encompassing neonatal outcomes, birth defects, growth and gonadal developments, physical health, neurological and neurodevelopmental outcomes, psychosocial developments, risk for cancer, and epigenetic abnormalities. Most of the children conceived after ART are normal. However, there is increasing evidence that ART-conceived children are at higher risk of poor perinatal outcome, birth defects, and epigenetic disorders, and the mechanism(s) leading to these changes have not been elucidated. Continuous follow-up of children after ART is of great importance as they progress through adolescence into adulthood, and new ART techniques are constantly being introduced.

Project supported by the National Basic Research Program (973) of China (No. 2012CB944901) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81070532 and 81200475)