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Mol Hum Reprod. 2013 Apr;19(4):189-204. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gas066. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

ART and health: clinical outcomes and insights on molecular mechanisms from rodent studies.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.

Abstract

Since the birth of the first IVF-conceived child in 1978, the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has grown dramatically, contributing to the successful birth of 5 million individuals worldwide. However, there are several reported associations of ART with pregnancy complications, such as low birthweight (LBW), preterm birth, birth defects, epigenetic disorders, cancer and poor metabolic health. Whether this is attributed to ART procedures or to the subset of the population seeking ART remains a controversy, but the most relevant question today concerns the potential long-term implications of assisted conception. Recent evidence has emerged suggesting that ART-conceived children have distinct metabolic profiles that may predispose to cardiovascular pathologies in adulthood. Because the eldest IVF individuals are still too young to exhibit components of chronic middle-aged syndromes, the use of animal models has become particularly useful in describing the effects of unusual or stressful preimplantation experiences on adult fitness. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which embryos integrate environmental signals into development and metabolic gene expression programs will be essential for optimizing ART procedures such as in vitro culture conditions, embryo selection and transfer. In the future, additional animal studies to identify mechanisms underlying unfavorable ART outcomes, as well as more epidemiological reviews to monitor the long-term health of ART children are required, given that ART procedures have become routine medical practice.

PMID:
23264495
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3598410
Free PMC Article
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