Children conceived by infertility treatment are more likely to develop asthma and allergies
A study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health suggests children conceived through infertility treatment have a higher risk of asthma and allergies. Research was carried out by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Human Reproduction published the study.
Around 5,000 mothers and 6,000 children born between 2008 and 2010 participated in the study. Throughout the study, mothers were asked to fill out periodic questionnaires about their health and that of their children. Among the procedures used to treat infertility were in vitro fertilization (eggs and sperm are placed inside a laboratory dish and fertilized), drugs that stimulate ovulation, and sperm injections.
After infertility treatment, children were more likely than those conceived without treatment to have persistent wheeze by age 3, an indication of asthma. The odds of asthma, eczema (an allergic condition causing rashes and itchy skin) and an allergy prescription were 30%, 77% and 45% higher for children conceived during treatment.
More research is needed to determine how infertility treatment or a low parental fertility rate might affect asthma and allergy development in children.
Edwina Yeung, Ph.D., of the NICHD Epidemiology Branch and lead author of the study, can be reached for comment.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Institutes of Health is the country’s medical research agency, comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers, and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers at the NIH are looking for causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. The agency conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research. Learn more about NIH programs and services at www.nih.gov.