The Impact of the First Test Tube Baby (Louise Brown)
Concerns about IVF long-term health
Over the past ten years, I have met more and more people who have had their children with the assistance of IVF. This got me wondering if there would be any long-term detrimental effects to the human species, if those with suboptimal fertility continue to reproduce generations of children sharing their problem? Will this be a non-issue because the hereditary factor is a gamble, not a guarantee? Or will this be a non-issue because the improvement of technology and/or the evolution of our kind will increase in tandem with this growing problem and thus cancel itself out? Or, will this be an issue and we just haven't crossed that bridge yet? Your thoughts.Robert George: There’s a health concern, about what, in the long term, physical consequences of IVF conception will be… We all breathed a sigh of relief when Louise Brown was born and was healthy, or at least appeared to be healthy. It seemed at the time as though the concerns that IVF might be risky from a health vantage point had been misplaced. But now that the cohort of children originally conceived by IVF has entered its late twenties and early thirties, the anecdotal evidence is beginning to pile up that there are long-term health consequences, negative health consequences of IVFconceptions. Now, we don’t know whether that can be rigorously demonstrated. As I say, we only have anecdotal evidence. But it’s critically important that we do the studies that will enable us to know whether in fact, over the long term, there are higher rates of disease, morbidity, among children conceived in IVF. It’s very important for the future that potential parents who are contemplating the use of in vitro fertilization know what the potential health risks, if any, are for the children whom they will conceive.