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IVF Babies Are Smarter Than Unplanned Ones

What helps kids pick up verbal skills?

We all know not all kindergartners are created equal. Some come into their first day of school knowing how to read, while others still have trouble speaking and recognizing letters. There’s a broad range of development among five-year-olds.

In a new study highlighting some of the causes of these gaps, a British study shows that by the time they turn five, babies born via fertility assistance are generally about 8 months ahead of those born after unplanned pregnancies, developmentally speaking.

What? Don’t worry if you got knocked up by accident. IVF doesn’t magically confer bonus IQ points on babies. Rather, being prepared to parent a kid tends to boost your child’s development.

The study found that kids whose parents planned to have them were about five months ahead of the surprise babies on vocabulary tests at age five. Babies born via IVF sailed ahead of the planned babies by another three to four months worth of development.

But when you account for socio-economic factors, the difference all but vanishes. The Telegraph reports:

The differences in scores “almost entirely disappear” when family background is taken into account, since children born following assisted reproduction tend to have older, better educated and richer parents.

As with last week’s report that having married parents doesn’t help kids, we come down to the same set of stuff that does: stable home lives and well-educated parents. Parental education appears, once again, to make a huge difference in the lives of kids. Children born after unplanned pregnancies were more likely to have poor, young, single, less educated mothers. It was those socio-economic factors, not the planning that went into the pregnancy, that researchers think accounts for the gap.

Photo: paprutzi

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