Children between 12 and 24 months old who had been singleton births were identified from a list of couples who had received the treatment and their parents were invited to participate; 123 of 137 families (90%) agreed. Control children, conceived naturally, were recruited from associated nurseries (105/123) or were social peers of cases (18/123). Altogether, 123 children born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (study children) and 123 control children were seen. Children were matched for social class, maternal educational level, region, sex, and race but not maternal age. Multiple births were excluded to avoid confounding factors. Primary outcome measures were developmental scoring on the Griffiths scales of mental development3
and rates of congenital abnormalities. The Griffiths scales are an objective method of assessing development which uses five subscales. All subscales have a normal mean score of 100 (75-125, SD 1).
Clinical data obtained included date and type of delivery, birth weight, gestation, resuscitation required, duration and reason for admission to neonatal unit (if admitted), and details of ventilatory support. Congenital abnormalities were classed according to the ICD-10 (international classification of diseases, 10th revision). Sociodemographic data obtained included date of birth, sex, and age in months. Information obtained about parents included date of birth, social class, occupation, smoking status, alcohol intake, marital or support status (that is, the number of full time carers in the household), type of housing, education, race, and mother’s gravidity and parity.
One observer (AGS) assessed all children. The mean age at assessment was 17.5 months. There was similarity across sociodemographic factors, although mothers of study children were more likely to be 35 years or older (P<0.001). Study children were more likely to have been born earlier (38.83 weeks v
39.59, P<0.01), to be of lower mean birth weight (3167
3365 g, P<0.01), and to have been born by caesarean section (44 v
26, P<0.05), but neonatal admission rates were similar (P>0.7).
The mean mental age (17.3 months for study infants v 17.6 for controls) and the mean Griffiths quotient (101 for study infants v 102 for controls) were comparable (table). Difference in the eye-hand coordination subquotient persisted despite adjustment for gestation (P<0.05). However, scores on all subscales were normal for control and study children.
The number of study infants with minor congenital anomalies (14) was higher in comparison with controls (9), but not significantly. The number of children with a major congenital malformation was comparable (6 study v 5 controls). Malformations found in the study infants were scrotal fusion, undescended testis, exomphalos, congenital cataract, and congenital hip dislocation. In the control group malformations were buphthalmos, horseshoe kidney, cleft lip, cleft palate, and ventricular septal defect.