Ovarian hyperstimulation and the in vitro fertilization procedure do not influence early neuromotor development; a history of subfertility does

Fertil Steril. 2010 Feb;93(2):544-53. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Apr 9.


Objective: To evaluate specific effects of ovarian hyperstimulation, the in vitro procedure, and a history of subfertility on neuromotor development at 3 months of age.

Design: Prospective, cohort study.

Setting: University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.

Patient(s): Singletons conceived after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation-IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (COH-IVF; n = 68) or modified natural cycle-IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (MNC-IVF; n = 57), and naturally conceived singletons of subfertile couples (NC; n = 90). Data from a reference population were available (n = 450).

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Quality of general movements (GMs), classified as normal-optimal, normal-suboptimal, mildly abnormal, or definitely abnormal. Definitely abnormal GMs indicate brain dysfunction, mildly abnormal GMs normal but non-optimal brain function.

Result(s): Mildly abnormal and definitely abnormal GMs were observed equally frequently in COH-IVF, MNC-IVF, and NC singletons. The three subfertile groups showed a reduction in GM quality, in particular more mildly abnormal GMs, in comparison with the reference population.

Conclusion(s): Singletons born after IVF (with or without ovarian hyperstimulation) are not at increased risk for abnormal GMs compared with naturally conceived peers of subfertile parents. Mildly abnormal GMs occur more often in infants of subfertile parents than in the general population, suggesting that factors associated with subfertility rather than those related to IVF procedures may be associated with less-optimal early neurodevelopmental outcome. These results need confirmation through replication and follow-up at older ages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / physiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology
  • Infertility / complications*
  • Infertility, Female / complications
  • Infertility, Male / complications
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Movement Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Paternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult