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The health outcomes of human offspring conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART)

  • M. Chen (a1) and L. K. Heilbronn (a2) (a3)

Abstract

Concerns have been raised about the health and development of children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) since 1978. Controversially, ART has been linked with adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes, an increased risk of birth defects, cancers, and growth and development disorders. Emerging evidence suggests that ART treatment may also predispose individuals to an increased risk of chronic ageing related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This review will summarize the available evidence on the short-term and long-term health outcomes of ART singletons, as multiple pregnancies after multiple embryos transfer, are associated with low birth weight and preterm delivery, which can separately increase risk of adverse postnatal outcomes, and impact long-term health. We will also examine the potential factors that may contribute to these health risks, and discuss underlying mechanisms, including epigenetic changes that may occur during the preimplantation period and reprogram development in utero, and adult health, later in life. Lastly, this review will consider the future directions with the view to optimize the long-term health of ART children.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr L. Heilbronn, Level 7, Nutrition and Metabolism, SAHMRI, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. (Email leonie.heilbronn@adelaide.edu.au)

References

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