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Assisted Reproduction Not Tied to Psychiatric Illness in Offspring

Elevated risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder may be explained by differences in parental characteristics

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adolescents conceived with assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) are not at risk for poor psychiatric health compared with the general population, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Chen Wang, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues evaluated the risk for psychiatric disorders in adolescents and young adults conceived with ARTs. The analysis included 1.2 million children born in Sweden from 1994 through 2006, with follow-up completed in 2018 (median age, 18 years).

The researchers found that adolescents conceived with ART had a higher risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder (hazard ratio [HR], 1.35; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.20 to 1.51), but the association was no longer statistically significant when adjusting for parental characteristics (adjusted HR [aHR], 1.10; 95 percent CI, 0.98 to 1.24) or when restricted to individuals born to couples with known infertility (aHR, 1.02; 95 percent CI, 0.89 to 1.17). There was no elevated risk for depression or suicidal behavior among adolescents conceived with ARTs, regardless of parental infertility. Furthermore, type of fertilization had no association with psychiatric outcomes. Fresh, but not frozen, embryo transfer was associated with a lower risk for mood disorders (aHR, 0.90; 95 percent CI, 0.83 to 0.97) compared with non-ART-conceived children of couples with infertility.

“In this follow-up of a Swedish national birth cohort study, the findings were reassuring with respect to the psychiatric health of adolescents conceived with ARTs,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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