Children born through IVF
Until relatively recently, there were practically no methods of treatment or even diagnosis of infertility, and couples who faced this problem could only count on a miracle. But, to date, reproductive medicine has made an incredible breakthrough, and now the problem of infertility can be considered almost completely solved.
The most frequently used method of infertility treatment is IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). Every year in Ukraine with IVF and other assisted reproductive technology is born no less than 200 thousand children, and, according to forecasts, this figure will increase, since on the one hand, more infertile couples, and on the other hand, reproductive technology is becoming more accessible.
The essence of IVF
The principle of IVF is as follows: as a result of hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, not one follicle matures as during normal ovulation, but several follicles which contain oocytes. This makes it possible to make a “supply” of embryos. Then the doctor retrieves the eggs from the ovary and fertilizes them with the most active sperm of the husband or donor under special conditions. If the sperm of the future father is not enough high-grade sperm, the method of ICSI is used when a micro-needle is injected directly into the egg with one sperm. The process of “growing” the embryo takes 3 to 5 days, all this time, fertilized eggs are in an environment that mimics the conditions of the body of a woman and placed in an incubator. It should be noted that all embryos necessarily undergo pre-implantation preparation, which aims to identify both chromosomal and genetic abnormalities if any. Only those embryos that have successfully passed selection are implanted.
Weighing the pros and cons of in vitro fertilization couples ask themselves the same question: what are they, IVF children, are they different from conventional children? And if earlier one could hear quite contradictory answers, now the medical literature has come to a consensus: a baby who was conceived through IVF cannot be distinguished from the one who was born through natural fertilization. There is absolutely no difference between them, they are absolutely normal boys and girls, but, of course, with their individual characteristics. A child born through assisted reproductive technology will be different only because it is unique, just like any other child. Even twin children who look like two peas in a pod differ from each other in certain ways.
The health of IVF children
All children, regardless of the method of conception, inherit certain genetic characteristics of the people whose sperm and egg was involved in the conception, i.e. the biological parents.
Since when preparing for conception through IVF, reproductive doctors are able to thoroughly examine embryos, the likelihood of a child being born with genetic and other abnormalities is greatly reduced. This is especially important when it comes to couples “in age” because before conception they go through a long enough period: first identifying infertility and often its treatment, and then the IVF protocol itself, in some cases not the first. And the risk of bearing a child with Down syndrome or genetic disorders increases with every year of the parents’ life. Another advantage of IVF is the possibility to determine the gender of the future baby, and this is very important when we are talking about any genetic disease transmitted through either of the parents. Another question often disturbs future parents, is it true that IVF babies get sick more often, but are nevertheless smarter than their congenitally conceived peers? To a certain extent, this is true and very easy to explain. IVF babies are very welcome and susceptible to parental hyper-preoccupation, so even the slightest indisposition makes them rush to the doctor immediately, even if it’s not really necessary.
At the same time, IVF babies can really outpace their peers in development, and the explanation is not that the best eggs and sperm were chosen for their appearance, but that they receive more parental attention, they are suffered and begged for. This explains the desire of moms and dads to give their babies only the best. Of course, this has a favorable effect on the development of IVF babies, and they reciprocate the parents’ wishes!