The following is a summary of “Metabolomic Profile of Children Conceived With Medically Assisted Technologies,” published in the February 2023 issue of Endocrinology & Metabolism by Tolani, et al.

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and non-in vitro fertilization fertility treatments (NIFT) can cause long-term health issues in children, including hypertension, glucose intolerance, and hypertriglyceridemia. However, few studies have compared the metabolic differences in children born following ART and NIFT to those conceived spontaneously by subfertile couples. Therefore, for a study, researchers sought to investigate metabolic differences in children conceived through ART and NIFT compared to those conceived spontaneously by subfertile couples.

The Developmental Epidemiological Study of Children born through Reproductive Technology (DESCRT) was conducted to analyze serum metabolomic samples from 143 children aged between 4-12 years, 43% female. The enrolled children were conceived using NIFT or ART (with fresh or frozen embryos with and without intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI]), and children conceived spontaneously by subfertile couples were used as controls. The distribution of metabolites between groups was compared using principal component analysis and multivariable regression.

No significant separation in metabolites based on treatment or sex was observed. NIFT-conceived children showed no differences compared to spontaneously conceived controls. However, children conceived through fresh ART, frozen ART, and all ICSI showed different metabolomics profiles than spontaneously conceived children. Pantoate and propionylglycine levels were elevated in fresh ART compared to the spontaneous group (P < .001). Propionylglycine levels were elevated in the ICSI (both fresh and frozen) vs the spontaneous group (P < .001). Lastly, 5-oxoproline levels were decreased in frozen ART compared to the spontaneous group (P < .001).

The study concluded that NIFT-conceived children exhibited no metabolic differences compared with spontaneously conceived children. The metabolic differences observed in ART-conceived children were small, but not clinically significant. Future studies should examine these metabolic differences further.