Activitas Nervosa Superior

, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 95–106 | Cite as

Assisted Reproductive Technology: Stress-Related Epigenetic and Neurodevelopmental Risk?

  • H. Szőke
  • István BókkonEmail author
  • G. Kapócs
  • J. Vagedes
  • C. Saahs
  • A. Mérey
  • Z. Kovács
Ideas and Perspectives


When a couple cannot conceive, it is commonly assumed that an underlying medical problem can be identified. However, emotional and psychological issues may play an important role in the development of infertility. In addition, assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) themselves may add to this stress in susceptible individuals. Infertile couples may have an increased susceptibility to these adverse effects. This in turn may result in increased risks for long-term psychological and medical problems in both the parents and the newborn. Among mechanisms mediating these effects altered DNA methylation affecting epigenetic regulation, preterm delivery, vanishing twin syndrome and the persistence of cell-free fetal DNA might be particularly important. Since emotional and psychological problems are highly prevalent in this population and ARTs can adversely influence these, we suggest that a thorough psychological evaluation should be an integral part of both the evaluation process for infertility and the follow-up after assisted reproduction. Furthermore, regarding the mentioned studies here, we propose that ARTs may induce stress-related epigenetic and neurodevelopmental risk.


ART Infertility Preterm birth Vanishing twin syndrome Neurodevelopmental and epigenetic risk 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Neuroscientia 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Szőke
    • 1
  • István Bókkon
    • 2
    Email author
  • G. Kapócs
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. Vagedes
    • 5
    • 6
  • C. Saahs
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  • A. Mérey
    • 9
  • Z. Kovács
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of CAM, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of PécsPécsHungary
  2. 2.Psychosomatic Outpatient CenterBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatric RehabilitationSaint John HospitalBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Institute for Behavioral SciencesSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  5. 5.University of Tuebingen, Children’s HospitalTuebingenGermany
  6. 6.ARCIM InstituteFilderstadtGermany
  7. 7.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  8. 8.Pediatric Outpatient DepartmentKremsAustria
  9. 9.Doctorate School, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of PécsPécsHungary

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