IVF doesn’t impact future health of your child, new research shows

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A British study has found that fears IVF may lead to health problems in children later in life are "largely unfounded".

According to King's College London researchers, who studied changes to epigenetics – the biological mechanisms that regulate genes – IVF has "little impact".

Epigenetic differences have been identified in common chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and psychiatric disorders.

The results of the study, which involved taking blood samples from the umbilical cords in newborn twins to analyse epigenetic changes, have been described as "reassuring" for parents, by the lead author Dr Jordana Bell.

"We have found no such major epigenetic differences in babies conceived by IVF," Dr Bell said.

"Our results are reassuring for parents who used IVF, as our research suggests that technology has little impact on epigenetic changes, and potentially future health."

The study compared the results of the blood samples from 107 newborn twins' umbilical cords of whom 47 were conceived through IVF and the others fertilised naturally.

Dr Bell also added, in the findings published in the journal BioMed Central, that despite the initial results more research was needed to see if there were changes over a greater period of time.

It's been estimated about five million babies have been conceived using IVF worldwide, with more and more couples turning to IVF as fertility rates drop.

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In 2014, 12,962 babies were born in Australia and New Zealand through IVF.

Ever since the first IVF baby was born in 1978, the topic has been hotly debated by scientists and ethicists.

Much research has focussed on the health impacts of IVF on children, with concerns often centred on low birth weights in IVF babies. However, the correlation may come down to other common factors, such as older mothers.

Californian-based scientist Dr Pascal Gagneux claimed that IVF was an 'evolutionary experiment' that could prove to be as big a health risk as junk food. He also warned that some consequences of artificial conception could take decades to develop.

However, consultant gynaecologist Dr Luciano Nardo told MailOnline there was "absolutely no cause for alarm" following the researcher's warning more tests will be done at a later date.

"IVF has benefited millions of couples to date. It's been vital for so many families and a miracle of science," he said.

"So this research not only offers reassurances to the parents of IVF children, but to the children themselves."

Hopefully, the research will help calm the fears of couples looking to IVF for the future, those parents who have successfully used IVF and the children born via IVF.