Since the first in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) birth in 1978, the number of children born by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) continues to increase worldwide. However, the safety issues surrounding these procedures remain controversial, and the long term impact on human health is unknown. There is emerging evidence to indicate that IVF may predispose individuals to increased incidence of obesity, elevated blood pressure, fasting glucose and triglycerides and subclinical hypothyroidism. However, few studies have been conducted to date and the underlying mechanisms are unclear. This review will summarize the existing evidence in animal models and in humans, and will discuss epigenetic alterations, which may link manipulation of the pre-implantation embryo with increased risk of the later development of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in offspring. Since these diseases are the leading cause of mortality and can be delayed or prevented by lifestyle modification, prospective follow up studies in IVF born adults are now urgently required to determine the degree of risks utilizing gold standard measures in human and animal models.
- Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
- Cardiovascular disease
- DNA methylation
- In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism