Doctors Debate Whether Children Born Through IVF Are More Likely To Face Health Problems In Later Life

Undergoing IVF is an "evolutionary experiment" that could be as big a health disaster for children as junk food, a scientist claims.

Dr Pascal Gagneux, a biologist from the University of California, believes the technology may cause trouble for IVF children as they grow up.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington DC, Dr Gagneux said: "I'm an evolutionary biologist and interested in human origins. To me assisted reproduction is the epitome of a species taking its own fate into its own hands.

"We're engaging in an evolutionary experiment... I would compare it to high fructose corn syrup and fast food in the US."

Dr Gagneux thinks IVF leads to problems in later life

Dr Gagneux said he fears unintended and unwanted consequences of IVF that cannot be detected now may emerge towards the end of life.

He said scientists have already uncovered ominous signs after experiments with mice.

Dr Gagneux claimed experiments had shown IVF mice that are allowed to age became ill - females developed a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome and male animals suffered hormonal problems.

Accoriding to PA, he also referred to another study in his speech, which involved taking 100 IVF and naturally conceived children aged as young as six 3,500 metres up a Swiss mountain, where low oxygen levels mimic effects of ageing.

Heart and artery malfunction was reported "very convincingly" in the children who had been conceived via IVF, according to Dr Gagneux.

Dr Gagneux said his biggest concern was the way IVF embryos were bathed in a cocktail of chemicals for up to five days during the phase when genetic "imprinting" is taking place.

British doctors and experts in the field of reproductive medicine disagreed with Gagneux's views.

Dr Nitin Shori, GP and medical director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service, told The Huffington Post UK: "Millions of couples who had faced the heartache of infertility have been able to have children as a result of IVF treatment.

"Medical science continues to seek new ways to improve our lives and there is no conclusive evidence that IVF babies are any different to babies conceived naturally.

"Couples concerned that they are having problems conceiving should speak to their GP for advice about the options available to them."

Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said, according to PA: "There is a wealth of epidemiological evidence to suggest that the babies born through IVF technologies are on the whole as healthy as their naturally conceived counterparts.

"Where some differences have been observed, these are largely explained by genetic defects in the sperm of the father rather than the fact that fertilisation and embryo development occurred outside of the body.

"I don't share the concerns raised by Dr Gagneux. If we were always led by the precautionary principle, medicine would never make any advances."

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