ICSI children are developing well at the age of eight

s, mongoloid eyes and overriding toes.

"We found no important medical problem in either of the two groups we studied. Weight, height, head circumference and Body Mass Index did not differ between the two groups. Ten per cent of ICSI children (15 out of 150) experienced a major congenital malformation compared to 3.3% (5 out of 147) of the spontaneously conceived (SC) children. Minor malformations were found in 24.1% (35 out of 145) ICSI children compared to 17.2% (25 out of 145) SC children."*

The researchers asked another research group in Western Australia to re-assess their data blindly, according to their own coding system. Their results reduced the percentage of major congenital malformations from 10% to 4% amongst the ICSI children, and from 3.3% to 0% amongst the SC children. Minor malformations were reduced from 24.1% to 4.8% in the ICSI children and from 17.2% to 4.8% in the SC children.

"Other results showed little, if any, difference between ICSI and SC children, physically or neurologically. ICSI children were not more likely to require additional therapy, to have had surgery or to be hospitalised. There was no greater medication intake or more chronic disease among the ICSI children," said Dr Belva.

"Overall, the findings from the clinical examinations at the age of eight are reassuring. There were no clinically important differences between ICSI and SC children. Major congenital malformations appeared to be more frequent in the ICSI group, even after the re-classification exercise; however, most were corrected by minor surgery.

"We should remember that malformations occur also in the 'normal' population and can be caused by genetic inheritance, the environment, disease or other causes. If one of the parents has a malformation, they could pass it on to their offspring. We do not think the ICSI technique itself is the cause of the malformations, but is more likely to be related to the parental genetic background an

Contact: Emma Mason
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

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