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Hum Reprod. 2004 Jun;19(6):1488-93. Epub 2004 Apr 22.

Cognitive development of 12 month old Greek infants conceived after ICSI and the effects of the method on their parents.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Athens, Greece.



ICSI is widely used as a method of assisted reproduction in Greece. Research shows that children conceived after the application of ICSI develop normally. However, Bowen et al. (1998) reported that children conceived after ICSI had lower scores in the Mental Development Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development compared with infants conceived naturally or by standard IVF treatment. This finding raised concerns about the effects of ICSI on infants' cognitive development. The aim of the present study was twofold. First to compare the cognitive development of Greek infants conceived after ICSI treatment to a control group of infants conceived after IVF treatment and to a further control group conceived naturally (NC). Second, to investigate the psychological effects of ICSI compared to IVF on Greek parents.


The Bayley Scales of Infant Development were employed to assess cognitive development of infants. A 37 item semi-structured interview was devised to obtain demographic information and to assess and compare the psychological effects of ICSI and IVF on parents.


The mental development of infants in all three groups was within the normal range (ICSI 101.4, IVF 95.7, NC 98.9). The differences between the three groups were not statistically significant. The duration of pregnancy and the birthweight differed in the three groups. Furthermore, mothers in the IVF and the ICSI groups experienced anxiety during pregnancy. IVF mothers differed in the mode of delivery and a smaller number of these mothers breastfed their infants.


This study has shown that Greek infants, born after the application of ICSI, have mental and motor scores within the normal range. With regard to the psychological effects, it appears that mothers in the ICSI and IVF groups experience greater anxiety during their pregnancies than those in the NC group.

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