A population-based study of the effect of infertility and its treatment on child health and development
The aim of this study was to elucidate the separate effects of infertility and its treatment on a range of child health and development outcomes measured at age 3 and 5 years in a national cohort study (the Millennium Cohort Study which recruited over 18,000 children). The population was divided into several groups of children: those who resulted from an unplanned pregnancy; those who resulted from a mistimed pregnancy; those who resulted from a 'planned pregnancy with a usual time to conception', those who resulted from a 'prolonged time to conception' and those who were conceived following infertility treatment.
- Children who were conceived following infertility treatment tended to come from socially advantaged backgrounds whereas children conceived following an unplanned pregnancy were more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- For most of the outcomes we examined, there were no excess risks among children conceived following infertility treatment, except a slightly higher increase in behavioural problems and some suggestion of an increased risk of asthma.
- Children conceived following an unplanned pregnancy tended to have poorer health and developmental outcomes although most of these effects tended to disappear after adjustment for other factors.