A new study has found that children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) actually perform better than age-and gender-matched peers on academic tests.
The University of Iowa study found that children who were conceived by IVF actually scored better than their peers on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Iowa Test for Educational Development (ITBS/ED).
"Our findings are reassuring for clinicians and patients as they suggest that being conceived through IVF does not have any detrimental effects on a child's intelligence or cognitive development," said study's lead author Bradley Van Voorhis.
For the study, Van Voorhis and colleagues compared the academic performance of 423 Iowa children, ages 8 to 17, who were conceived by IVF at UI Hospitals and Clinics with the performance of 372 age- and gender-matched peers from the same Iowa schools.
The researchers also analyzed whether different characteristics of the children, parents or IVF methods affected children's test scores.
The study found that children born by IVF performed above average on standardized tests compared to their peers.
Importantly, the study also showed that different IVF procedures -- using fresh versus frozen embryos -- and different methods of insemination had no effect on children's test scores.
Although the study was not able to fully explain why children conceived by IVF performed better than their peers, Van Voorhis speculated that parents of children conceive by IVF might be older and have higher levels of education than average.
"By using age- and gender-matched children from the same classrooms as a control group to compare to our study participants, we attempted to control for any socioeconomic or environmental differences between the children born by IVF and their peers," Van Voorhis said.
"But there still may have been some differences between the IVF children and the controls that we could not see from our data," he said.
The study was published in the October issue of the journal Human Reproduction.