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Hum Reprod. 2004 Dec;19(12):2791-7. Epub 2004 Sep 9.

Psychological follow-up study of 5-year-old ICSI children.

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  • 1Department of Developmental- and Lifespanpsychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.



The developmental outcomes of children born after ICSI are still a matter of concern. The purpose of the present study was to investigate psychological outcomes for 5-year-old children born after ICSI and compare these with outcomes for children born after spontaneous conception (SC).


Three hundred singleton children born after ICSI in Belgium, Sweden and the USA were matched by maternal age, child age and gender. Outcome measures included the Wechsler Preschool and Primary scales of intelligence (WPPSI-R), Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, Parenting Stress Index and Child Behaviour Checklist.


Regarding cognitive development, no significant differences were found on WPPSI-R verbal and performance scales between ICSI and SC children. However, some differences were noted on subtests of the Performance Scale. ICSI children more often obtained a score below 1 SD of the mean on the subtests: Object Assembly, Block Design and Mazes (all P<0.05). Significant differences by site (i.e. Belgium, Sweden and New York) were found on subtests related to parenting stress, child behaviour problems and motor development (all P<0.05). These findings can probably be explained by variables other than conception mode, such as cultural differences and selection bias.


Although the finding that a higher proportion of ICSI children obtained scores below the cut-off on some of the visual-spatial subscales of the WPPSI-R warrants further investigation, ICSI does not appear to affect the psychological well-being or cognitive development at age 5.

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