Early structural status of the eyes of healthy term neonates conceived by in vitro fertilization or conceived naturally

Ruth Axer-Siegel*, Zvi Herscovici, Samuel Davidson, Nehama Linder, Ilana Sherf, Moshe Snir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To evaluate the effects of in vitro fertilization (IVF) on early development of the eye in full-term healthy infants. METHODS. A case-control study was performed. The study sample included full-term infants born from March 1 to August 14, 2006, in the Neonatal Department of Helen Schneider Women's Hospital, Rabin Medical Center. Data were collected on sex, gestational age, birth weight, Apgar score, head circumference, body length, and mode of conception (IVF/natural). A full ophthalmologic examination was performed, including measurement of intraocular pressure, keratometry, ultrasound biometry, pachymetry, and funduscopy. RESULTS. Sixty-six infants (132 eyes) were examined; 32 were conceived by IVF, and 34 were conceived naturally. Girls accounted for 56% of the IVF group and 44% of the natural conception group. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in sex, gestational age, head circumference, intraocular pressure, axial length, anterior chamber depth, and lens thickness. The IVF infants had lower birth weight and body length than the infants born by natural conception (P = 0.032, t-test). Their keratometric and pachymetric values were also higher, but when birth weight and length were controlled, this difference remained statistically significant only for infants with a birth weight of less than 3000 g and a body length of less than 48.5 cm. CONCLUSIONS. IVF apparently has no effect on early development of the eyes in full-term infants. The steeper corneal curvature and greater central corneal thickness in a subset of smaller IVF infants may reflect delayed corneal maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5454-5458
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


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