STOCKHOLM, February 8, 2002 ( – A Swedish study published in the current edition of The Lancet medical journal has found that children born after in vitro fertilization (IVF) have an increased risk of severe brain disorder requiring treatment at a childhood disability centre. Dr Bo Strömberg, a paediatric neurologist at University Children's Hospital and his collegues found that there was a three to four-fold increase in risk of having cerebral palsy in children born after IVF. The risk of suspected developmental delay was two to four times higher in children born after IVG than in normally conceived children. The study also noted an increased risk of severe visual problems in children born after IVF than in the general population, but this increase was non-significant, probably due to the small numbers.

The study noted that the risks of these disorders are increased with IVF generally but more so when IVF children are implanted in batches and born as multiples. The researcher did a population-based retrospective cohort study in which they compared development of neurological problems in 5680 children born after IVF, with 11,360 matched controls.

While not coming out against IVF the investigators noted, “Almost 50 000 children are now born worldwide every year after IVF, yet the effects of IVF on long-term health of infants are unknown.”