More good news on fertility: three new studies presented at a recent meeting of fertility doctors found that frozen eggs are as good as fresh– and that babies conceived via in-vitro fertilization (IVF) appear to be smarter than those conceived the old-fashioned way.
The research was presented at the latest meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
The egg freezing study found that 85% of eggs survived being thawed and that the IVF cycles using those eggs had a 67% pregnancy rate.
However, most of the eggs came from young women, and they did not stay frozen for more than two years—so the research may not apply to women who want to freeze their eggs in their 20’s and use them in their 40’s. Another presentation reported similarly good results in women who used frozen eggs to preserve fertility after cancer treatment.
Fertility docs don’t currently recommend relying on egg freezing to delay childbearing. It is difficult to predict the viability of stored eggs, which could decline in quality after being frozen for long periods of time. IVF is also an expensive and often grueling procedure that may require several cycles (at about 10-$12,000 each) to work, if it does at all.
The third study looked at IVF and intelligence. It included 204 IVF babies who were not twins or supertwins, who ranged in age from 8-17. They scored higher on achievement tests than general population controls. Babies born as multiple births however, did have slightly lower scores, which tends to be the case for multiple births in general.
This probably doesn’t mean that IVF creates smarter babies, however: parents who use IVF tend to be older, more educated and wealthier than the general population, and those same factors are also linked to better performance on achievement tests. But those undergoing IVF can take heart from the fact that the procedure itself doesn’t seem to impair intelligence.