SEP 05, 2018 5:50 PM PDT

Higher Risk of Hypertension Associated with IVF Births

WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Williams

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) were developed in 1978 and helped millions of individuals and families who cannot conceive naturally have the children they so desire. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the most common ART method is an assisted reproductive technology that involves fertilizing extracted eggs with a sperm sample in a laboratory setting, followed by transfer of embryos to the uterus. For many in vitro fertilization allows for pregnancy in situations of infertility in either men or women and accounts for almost 2 percent of all infants born in the United States every year, and over six million persons worldwide. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that children conceived through IVF may be at increased risk of developing hypertension along with other cardiovascular complications early in life.

Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, occurs when your heart is pumping blood through narrow arteries, leading to elevated blood pressure which can eventually cause health complications such as heart disease. There may be no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, and it generally develops over many years, damaging blood vessels and your heart. Risk factors for hypertension may include age, race, family history, weight, stress, and other compounding factors such as tobaccos use and alcohol consumption. Researchers from the University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland now show that conception via IVF may increase the risk of hypertension.

The study assessed 54 young healthy adolescents, an average age of 16, that were conceived via ART and had similar cardiovascular risk profiles and compared them to 43 age- and sex-matched control participants. Participants blood pressure, plaque build-up, blood vessel function, and artery stiffness were all measured over 24 hours. Researchers also had obtained the same data from participants 5 years before the study. The results showed that adolescents conceived via ART had higher blood pressure than control participants of natural conception, with eight of the ART adolescents being diagnosed with hypertension compared to only one of the control participants. When compared to the data from five years prior, they found that blood pressure did not differ significantly between ART and control adolescents but instead had developed with time.

"The increased prevalence of arterial hypertension in ART participants is what is most concerning," said Emrush Rexhaj, MD, director of Arterial Hypertension and Altitude Medicine at Inselspital, University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland and the lead author of the study. "There is growing evidence that ART alters the blood vessels in children, but the long-term consequences were not known. We now know that this places ART children at a six times higher rate of hypertension than children conceived naturally." Further study should focus on bolstering the findings by analyzing individuals at more than one procreation center as well as including individuals outside of single-birth children. These findings show the importance of detection and treatment of ART adolescents for appropriate preventative action early on.

To learn more about hypertension watch the video below!

Sources: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, American Pregnancy Association, Mayo Clinic

About the Author
Doctorate
Caitlin holds a doctorate degree in Microbiology from the University of Georgia where she studied Mycoplasma pneumoniae and its glycan receptors. She received her Bachelor's in Biology from Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES!). She has a passion for science communication and STEM education with a goal to improve science literacy. She enjoys topics related to human health, with a particular soft spot for pathogens.
You May Also Like
JUN 21, 2022
Cardiology
Sudden Cardiac Death and Genetics in Athletes
JUN 21, 2022
Sudden Cardiac Death and Genetics in Athletes
A new publication outlines recommendations for genetic testing in athletes.
JUN 29, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
New Study Shows Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Adult Cancer Survivors
JUN 29, 2022
New Study Shows Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Adult Cancer Survivors
With modern diagnostics and treatments, cancer survival rates continue to improve. Though numbers vary depending on the ...
JUL 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Whole Blood Exchange May Reduce Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer's
JUL 16, 2022
Whole Blood Exchange May Reduce Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer's
Whole blood exchange reduces the formation of amyloid beta plaques in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. The corre ...
AUG 04, 2022
Cardiology
Lifestyle Can Offset Genetic Stroke Risk
AUG 04, 2022
Lifestyle Can Offset Genetic Stroke Risk
Those who are genetically susceptible to stroke can lower their risk by as much at 43% through lifestyle choices.
AUG 11, 2022
Cardiology
Link Between Red Meat and Heart Disease May Be Partly Due to Microbiome
AUG 11, 2022
Link Between Red Meat and Heart Disease May Be Partly Due to Microbiome
Consuming red meat increases the production of chemicals in the microbiome that lead to heart disease.
SEP 24, 2022
Cardiology
Does Alcohol Cause QT Prolongation in Adolescents?
SEP 24, 2022
Does Alcohol Cause QT Prolongation in Adolescents?
For many years, moderate alcohol intake and its effect on health have been subject to much debate, particularly concerni ...
Loading Comments...