Over 5 million children have been born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) across the world. IVF is only one of the many methods of assisted reproduction, which can be used to achieve pregnancy in the context of infertility or subfertility. Since the birth of the first IVF child, Louise Brown, in 1978, a number of researchers have started to study the various impacts of the conception through these methods, on both mothers and children. A growing body of evidence suggests that conception through medically assisted reproduction (MAR) is not without risk. Given that MAR is relatively new and that our look back period is short, there is limited evidence on the risks associated to these procedures, both for the mother and the child. In this chapter, we aim to explore the association between MARs and adverse perinatal outcomes specifically. We will first provide you with an overview of the prevalence and trends of use of these methods around the world, and then delve into the associations between MARs and the risk of perinatal outcomes, namely prematurity, being born with low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, and lastly the impact of MARs on cognitive functions including cerebral palsy, behavioral problems, and autism, which are identified later in the child’s life.
Part of the book: Infertility, Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Hormone Assays