Children born after fertility treatments such as IVF may have a slightly higher chance of developing asthma according to new research.
Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Essex analysed data from more than 13,000 children born from 2000-2002 and found that five-years-olds were twice as likely to have asthma if they were not conceived naturally.
The children were also more likely to need medication, which could be an indication of more severe asthma.
Lead researcher Dr Claire Carson said 15% of all the children in the study had asthma at the age of five, but this proportion had risen to 24% among the 104 of them born through assisted-reproduction technologies.
However, Dr Carson added that the findings should not put parents off trying to get pregnant through IVF.
"Assisted reproduction technologies offer a chance to become a parent when there isn't another option and for the majority of children asthma is quite manageable," she said.
"Though we were able to establish an interesting pattern it's far too soon to say that IVF treatment results in higher rates of asthma. Other explanations, such as genetics, may explain the association."
Malayka Rahman, from the charity Asthma UK, agreed that their needs to be more research into the findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction.
She said: "This study suggests that there might be an association between IVF treatment and asthma developing in children, but the sample size for this study is small and currently the research in this area generally is not conclusive.
"Those considering IVF should speak to their GP about the benefits and health risks in order to make an informed decision."
Posted 06/12/2012 by firstname.lastname@example.org