Test tube babies not at increased risk of developing mental disorders

Updated: Jul 11, 2013, 16:25 PM IST

Washington: Whether a child is conceived naturally or in a Petri dish has no bearing on the child`s mental health, a new research has suggested.

However, researchers found a small but higher risk of developing a mental disorder like autism, ADHD or behavioural problems in kids whose moms only received medical treatment to stimulate ovulation and egg development before insemination.

This is the result of a new research project from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, which has compared the risk of mental illness in artificially fertilised and naturally conceived children.

In the project, researchers compared children aged up to 17 years from three different groups: naturally conceived children, children of mothers who only received medical treatment to become pregnant, and a group of children conceived using the so-called test-tube method, where fertilisation takes place outside the uterus.

The general conclusion of the study is that test-tube babies are generally just as mentally and physically healthy as naturally conceived children.

On the other hand, the researchers found a measurable increase in the occurrence of mental disorders in children whose mothers received help to become pregnant through insemination treatment in the form of hormone stimulation to promote egg development and ovulation.

Yet there is no obvious explanation for these results, according to one of the researchers behind the study, Bjorn Bay, MD and PhD fellow at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

The study has been published in the highly acclaimed British Medical Journal (BMJ).