In vitro fertilisation (IVF) was introduced in 1978 into practice with little formal evaluation of the effects on the health of the children.
Since then the clinical outcome of children born by ART (assisted reproductive technology) techniques remains a major concern. When IVF was applied for the first time in 1983 at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine a follow-up program of the children was installed. When IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) was discovered to treat male infertility and when this technique was applied for the first time at the UZ Brussel in 1991, specific questions raised on the safety for the children. These were related to the invasiveness of the new technique and to the type (and anomalies) of the spermatozoa used. For other new ART applications such as the use of spermatozoa extracted from the testes, embryo biopsy when a preimplantation diagnosis is needed, cryopreservation, etc. the systematic monitoring of clinical outcome of the children is mandatory. By continuing follow-up studies, our center has the worldwide largest dataset with detailed information of more than 15 000 children and is recognised as an international reference. Numerous publications and PhD theses were based on this database.
Funding was obtained from FWO, Wetenschappelijk Fonds Willy Gepts, OZR-VUB, Educational Grant Organon International and Educational Grant Schering-Plough
This work is divided in several research projects:
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