BACKGROUND: ICSI is used with increasing frequency, but there is less information about the children born following this method of assisted reproduction than other forms of IVF. Some authors have suggested that it may contribute to more family stress than IVF. METHODS: ICSI conceived children were compared with IVF conceived children and naturally conceived (NC) controls. They were selected in five European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Sweden and the UK, and seen for psychological testing and a paediatric examination when they were 5 years old. In all countries, except Greece, mothers and fathers were asked to complete questionnaires about parental well-being, family relationships, parenting and child behaviour. RESULTS: Very few differences were found between the ICSI and NC group or the ICSI and IVF group. The only significant differences were that mothers in the ICSI conceived group reported fewer hostile or aggressive feelings towards the child and higher levels of commitment to parenting than the mothers of NC children. CONCLUSIONS: The study confirms the results of previous work with IVF families. This should be encouraging for families using these techniques in the future.
OBJECTIVE: To date, very few studies have been conducted on the neurodevelopmental well-being of children conceived through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The limitations of these studies often include a lack of comparison with a demographically matched, naturally conceived (NC) group and the investigation of only very young children, with relatively small samples sizes. One study showed that there were no differences in IQ scores among ICSI-conceived, in vitro fertilization (IVF)-conceived, and NC children at 5 years of age. Unfortunately, psychomotor development was not assessed in that study. Because findings regarding these children's cognitive and motor development are inconclusive, the aim of this study was to shed more light on the cognitive and motor development of 5-year-old ICSI-conceived children. METHODS: A total of 511 ICSI-conceived children were compared with 424 IVF-conceived children and 488 NC controls. Children were recruited in 5 European countries, ie, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Participation rates ranged from 45% to 96% in the ICSI and IVF groups and from 34% to 78% in the NC group. Cognitive and motor development was assessed with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R) and McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA) Motor Scale, respectively. The WPPSI-R consists of 2 major scales, ie, Verbal and Performance, each including 6 subtests. The 6 Performance Scale subtests are object assembly, geometric design, block design, mazes, picture completion, and animal pegs. The 6 Verbal Scale subtests are information, comprehension, arithmetic, vocabulary, similarities, and sentences. Scores on the Performance and Verbal Scale subtests are summed to yield the performance IQ (PIQ) and verbal IQ (VIQ), respectively. Scores on both the Performance Scale and the Verbal Scale yield the full-scale IQ (FSIQ). IQ scales have a mean score of 100 and a SD of 15. Each subtest has a mean score of 10 and a SD of 3. The MSCA consists of 6 scales, ie, Verbal, Perceptual-Performance, Quantitative, General Cognitive, Memory, and Motor Scale. In this study, only the Motor Scale was administered. This scale assesses the child's coordination during performance of a variety of gross- and fine-motor tasks. Leg coordination, arm coordination, and imitative action tests provide measures of gross-motor ability. Draw-a-design and draw-a-child assess fine-motor coordination, as revealed by the levels of hand coordination and finger dexterity. The mean score for this test is 50, with a SD of . RESULTS: No differences were identified among ICSI, IVF, and NC children with respect to VIQ, PIQ, or FSIQ scores of the WPPSI-R. Furthermore, there were no differences between groups regarding the discrepancy between VIQ and PIQ scores. These results were not influenced by gender, country, or maternal educational level. However, in the subgroup of firstborn children with mothers who gave birth at an older age (33-45 years), NC children obtained significantly better VIQ and FSIQ scores than did children conceived through assisted reproductive technologies. These differences in VIQ and FSIQ scores between ICSI/IVF and NC children were relative, because NC children scored