Babies born by IVF are twice as likely to have cerebral palsy than those conceived naturally, researchers in Denmark have said.
Scientists researched 90,000 children on a national database of medical information, compared cerebral palsy rates in babies conceived naturally against those via IVF. They also looked at how long it took their mums to become pregnant, as the length of time taken to conceive is often an indicator to a fertility problem.
While the Danish scientists found the cerebral palsy risk was similar for couples who struggled to naturally conceive and those who fell pregnant quickly, the risk doubled for babies conceived with IVF. This finding throws doubt on the idea that the underlying reason for fertility problems played a role.
Whilst the risk appears to double, Dr Jin Laing Zhu, who led the study, said parents should keep in mind that the risk is very low. In this study, it amounted to about one in 176 babies born with the condition.
Another suspected cerebral palsy risk is with twin pregnancies, which carries a higher rate of problems for both mum and baby and sometimes leads to babies being born early.
A swedish study has also suggested that the growing practice of using one embryo instead of two is cutting the cerebral palsy risk, reports the BBC.
Around 12,000 babies are born with the help of IVF every year in the UK.