The purpose of this study was to assess major neurodevelopmental aspects of children conceived by assisted reproductive treatments compared to spontaneously conceived children during the early school years.
In this follow-up study, mothers of 358 children born following assisted reproductive treatments and 401 spontaneously-conceived children were interviewed by telephone regarding their children’s health and development, when the children were 7-8 years old. The main outcomes were maternal responses to 4 questionnaires: Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire, Short Sensory Profile, Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire, and the Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) Child Symptom Inventory-4 subscale. Mothers reported diagnoses of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
No significant differences were found between the groups in Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire or Short Sensory Profile scores upon univariate or multivariable analyses. There was a slightly higher but nonsignificant rate of diagnosed ADHD among children in the assisted reproductive treatment group (9.6% vs 5.5%; = .18); on multivariable analysis, a nonsignificant increase in ADHD was also found for assisted reproductive treatment children (hazard ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 0.81-2.61). Regarding the Child Symptom Inventory-4 criteria for ADHD among the children who had never been diagnosed, there was also a slightly higher but nonsignificant rate among the assisted reproductive treatments compared to spontaneously-conceived children on univariate (2.4% vs 1.8%; = .50) and multivariable analysis (odds ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.27-2.86). Autism spectrum disorder diagnosis or Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire scores were not significantly different; however, 5 of the 6 children with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses were in the assisted reproductive treatment group.
Neurodevelopmental measures were similar in both groups, although nonconclusive regarding ADHD and autism spectrum disorder risk. These findings contribute to the knowledge regarding long-term assisted reproductive treatment outcomes.