Study looks at mental health of IVF babies as teens

30/09/2022 | 2 mins

Research from The University of Western Australia, in partnership with the Raine Study, found teenagers born after in vitro fertilisation had a decreased tendency towards aggressive and delinquent behaviour and an age-specific increase in depression.

The research, published in Human Reproduction, looked at the mental health of 163 adolescents born in WA following IVF, compared to a control group of teenagers.

Lead researcher Professor Roger Hart, from UWA Medical School, said one in 20 babies born in Australia was now conceived through IVF.

He said most research had focused on short-term outcomes, but this study looked at mental health in older children who were part of the Raine Study – Australia’s longest-running public health study.

Professor Hart said an increase in depression was noted in 14-year-olds conceived with assisted reproductive technology. 

“At 14 years of age IVF offspring had a higher incidence of clinical depression (12 per cent compared to eight per cent) although this difference had gone by 17 years of age,” Professor Hart said.

“It is reassuring that differences in the rates of depression were not observed at age 17 but these findings require replication.

“As the use of assisted reproduction is common and mental health disorders are increasing, knowledge about a potential association is important for parents and health care providers.”

The team also published a paper earlier this year by Laura Wijs, from UWA’s Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which looked at general health in IVF adolescents.

Professor Hart said it found IVF girls had a lower BMI and less subcutaneous fat than the control group. No significant differences were found with the male teens.

Professor Hart said when they assessed their lung function, there were no differences detected between the two groups of 14-year-olds for asthma but the IVF group did demonstrate a tendency towards more allergies such as hay fever and food allergies.

Media references

Cecile O’Connor  (UWA Media & PR Advisor)    6488 6876

Kate Rowlands (Raine Study Communications Manager)   0437 005 173

Share this

Related news


Browse by Topic

Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.