(HealthDay News) – Children born to subfertile parents are more likely to have asthma, with the likelihood further increased for children born after the use of assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs), according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Human Reproduction.

To examine the correlation between asthma and subfertility, Claire Carson, PhD, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed follow-up data from a prospective study involving 18,818 children recruited at 9 months of age. Data were included from 13,041 children at age 5 and 11,585 at age 7 years. Mothers characterized their pregnancy based on whether the conception had been planned, their feelings toward the pregnancy, how long they took to conceive, and whether they received fertility treatment.

The researchers found that, at age 5, singletons born to subfertile parents were significantly more likely to experience asthma (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.39), wheezing (aOR, 1.27), and to be taking anti-asthmatic medications (OR, 1.90), compared with planned children (time to conception <12 months, without assistance). This association was primarily due to an increase among children born after ART (aOR, 2.65, 1.97, and 4.67, respectively). The association was attenuated at age 7.

“Our findings suggest that asthma, wheezing, and the use of anti-asthmatic medications are higher among children born to subfertile couples than those who conceived in <12 months,” the authors write. “Children born after ART have a much higher risk, though we cannot determine if this is indicative of a treatment effect or related to a greater degree of subfertility in this group of parents.”

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