Today, there are more than six million children worldwide born through assisted reproductive technologies or the ART. The technology, developed in 1978, thus, helped countless families a chance for happiness.
ART methods most commonly involve IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. That’s according to the University Hospital’s researchers in Bern, Switzerland. Through such processes, gamete and embryo are exposed to various external environmental factors before implanting in the ovary.
A Swiss study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology about children born through ART. It says that these kids are at a higher risk of developing diseases like arterial hypertension at an early age. They will also suffer from additional cardiovascular complications.
The study had 54 sample individuals born through ART. They were compared with 43 individuals naturally conceived who were age- and sex-matched control subjects. The mean age of those samples were 16.5, for the ART participants, and 17.4, for controlled participants. They were subject to 24-hour continuous ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, which is known as the ABPM.
These individuals were also evaluated five years before this study. The blood pressure levels of the two groups were almost similar back then. However, the ART group indicated premature and untimely vascular ageing.
Researchers said, “The kids born through ART had 25% smaller brachial artery than the other group, and increased carotid along with pulse-wave velocity.”
Reputed senior Emrush Rexhaj, MD conducted the research; and colleagues. They noted that the IVF group of individuals had higher systolic and diastolic pressure, 119/71 mm Hg, in comparison to naturally-born samples. The latter group had 115/69 mm Hg.
The situation proves more complicated for eight other participants from the ART group having critical arterial hypertension. That is to say; they crossed the threshold of 130/80 mm Hg. From the controlled group, there was only one such adolescent to exceed that cut-off.
Rexhaj and team were highly concerned about the results. He said:
Five years is all it took for us to notice the difference in their blood pressure. Birth through ART is rapidly increasing; the study proves that there will be more of such children in coming years. What concerns us is healthy children are showing signs of serious concern for cardiovascular risk and arterial hypertension at such an early stage of their life.
Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, showed his grave apprehension for this group of individuals. He is a cardiology specialist at Mount Auburn Hospital who wrote in a related editorial that these samples are only a tiny part of a huge universe.
The factors that he was talking about are maternal risk factors like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. It also includes a mother’s lifestyle choices along with multiple birth pregnancies.
Dr Weinrauch wrote, “If these factors were taken into consideration, the risk that we could see would have been much higher among the ART participants.”