IVF may be a risk factor for adult onset diabetes

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Thu 01/30/2014

Look Children conceived through IVF treatment could have an increased likelihood to develop Type II Diabetes later in life. They have discovered that mice conceived through IVF treatment were more prone to develop the disease than those conceived naturally.

IVF may be a risk factor for adult onset diabetes

Now that so many IVF babies have reached adulthood, studies can be done to see how they’re doing in the long term. Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn, Miaoxin Chen PhD, Dr. Linda Wu, Professor Gary Wittert, Professor Rob Norman and Dr. Rebecca Robker are looking into the metabolic consequences, if any, of hormonal stimulation and embryo culture on later health. They have discovered a link between in vitro fertilization and an increased risk of glucose intolerance and developing Type II Diabetes in mice.

IVF may be a risk factor for adult onset diabetes

“IVF is becoming ever more accessible with a reported 5.5 million IVF babies worldwide. It is so important to future generations that there is ongoing research in this area to continue improving on the technology we currently have in place,” said Heilbronn. “Studies in humans cannot separate out whether any differences in risk are due to genetics, environment or the IVF procedure itself and so we aimed to establish a mouse model in the first instance.”

IVF may be a risk factor for adult onset diabetes

When IVF mice reached adulthood, they were tested for Type II diabetes. “Our results show that regardless of diet, IVF male mice showed an increased risk for developing Type II Diabetes, whereas only the female mice that ate a high fat diet showed a higher susceptibility to the disease,” she said.

IVF may be a risk factor for adult onset diabetes

Research continues. They are striving to find out if it’s the process of growing embryos in vitro or whether it may be the hormones given to women prior to implantation or maybe it’s something else. “There is still so much research to be done and our team will begin the next stage of our study to investigate if these issues can be prevented during the in vitro culture process. There are a lot of positive signs to show that by changing IVF practices, such as lessening hormone exposure or freezing embryos, we may be able to prevent these issues from arising later in life,” Hielbronn said.

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