In 1978, the first baby was conceived and born through IVF, and since then many scientists have questioned the effect that the process can have on babies. 

 

'Test-tube babies' have always warranted a certain amount of concern with regards to potential birth defects, but new research has revealed that this is not an issue. 

 

A new study carried out by King's College, London, has revealed that any fears over having a child through IVF are "largely unfounded". 

 

The study focused mainly on epigenetics for the research, which are the biological mechanisms that regulate a person's genes, and have been linked to diseases such as cancer, psychiatric disorders and diabetes.

 

Blonde Haired Woman in Black Green Yellow and Teal Floral Scoop Neck T-shirt Holding Black Haired Baby on Green Grass during Sunrise

 

Dr Jordana Bell, lead author on the study, said that they "found no such major epigenetic differences in babies conceived by IVF".

 

She continued: "Our results are reassuring for parents who used IVF, as our research suggests that technology has little impact on epigenetic changes, and potentially future health."

 

In order to get their results, the study took blood from the umbilical cord of 107 sets of newborn twins, in order to analyse epigenetic changes. 

 

The findings - which were published in the journal BioMed Central - revealed that of the 107 twins, 47 were conceived through IVF, and the others were conceived naturally.

 

Baby Lying on Black Pad

 

The medical director of Cheshire's Reproductive Health Group spoke to the MailOnline about the findings, stating that "IVF has benefited millions of couples to date. It’s been vital for so many families and a miracle of science. So this research not only offers reassurance to the parents of IVF children, but to the children themselves".

 

IVF is a process of fertilisation whereby an an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in glass, hence the term "test tube baby". The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing eggs from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory.

 

The fertilised egg is cultured for six days in a growth medium and is then transferred to a woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

 

Last year, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority announced that 250,000 babies have been born in the UK through this IVF, with figures suggesting that the total number of children conceived through IVF is at almost five million. 

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