A new research study found that children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) scored higher than other kids on reading, language, math and vocabulary tests. How is that possible?
The news, no doubt, comes as a relief to parents who conceived children by IVF and are unsure of any possible future health effects on their kids.
Researchers concluded that IVF conception ”does not have any detrimental effects on a child’s intelligence or cognitive development,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Bradley Van Voorhis in a news release, The Los Angeles Times reports. The study was published in the Oct. 10 issue of the journal Human Reproduction.
To conduct the study, researchers reviewed academic test scores of 423 Iowa children ages 8 to 17 who were conceived by IVF and at the test scores of 372 matched peers from the same schools. To account for other possible variables, they analyzed the parents’ backgrounds – including ethnicity, education, age and marital status. They found that most of the parents were white, college educated and married. The mothers average age was 34.
All other factors considered, amazingly, the children conceived by IVF scored higher than the other kids in all grades on reading, math, vocabulary and language tests. Children of multiple birth scored lower on tests, but not significantly.
It’s possible that the higher tests scores of the so-called “IVF kids” is more of an indication of socioeconomic status. Since researchers were unable to account for the age, marital status and education of parents in the control group, it’s impossible to say whether those factors played a role.
“We attempted to control for any socioeconomic or environmental differences between the children born by IVF and their peers,” said Van Voorhis, director of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Care at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic. “ But there still may have been some differences between the IVF children and the controls that we could not see from our data.”
That must explain the difference in scores since it’s highly unlikely that IVF itself produces smarter kids. What do you make of the researchers’ findings?
Photo: Jason Dunn