ART link to genetic health risks?


There are millions of children - over three million - who have been born from assisted reproductive technologies since 1978. The majority of these children are healthy, indistinguishable from their peers. However, as a group, studies now show they are at greater risk of certain kinds of birth defects and at risk for low birth weight. Low birth weight is associated with obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes later in life.

Carmen Sapienze, a geneticist at Temple University School of Medicine studies genetic modifications by comparing children conceived in the old fashioned way and children born as a result of ART. “We found that 5-10% of these chromosome modifications were different in children born through assisted reproduction, and this altered the expression of nearby genes,” he said. “But we have not yet distinguished whether this is caused by assisted reproductive technologies or other factors such as the couple’s infertility.”

Some of the genes effected by the chromosome modifications have to do with the development of fat tissue and the metabolism of glucose. Sapienze believes these children need to be monitored long term to determine if they have higher incidences of diabetes or obesity and obesity related disease.

Even though there were measurable differences in the DNA, Sapienze went on to stress that only a small fraction of the ART children were found to be outside the “normal” range.

Source: Medical News Today, Temple University


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