Karin J Middelburg

University of Groningen, Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands

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Publications (27)87.74 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: What causal relationships underlie the associations between ovarian stimulation, the IVF procedure, parental-, fertility- and child characteristics, and blood pressure (BP) and anthropometrics of 4-year-old IVF children? Causal models compatible with the data suggest the presence of positive direct effects of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation as applied in IVF (COH-IVF) on systolic blood pressure (SBP) percentiles and subscapular skinfold thickness. Increasing evidence suggests that IVF is associated with higher blood pressure and altered body fat distribution in offspring, but underlying mechanisms describing the causal relationships between the variables are largely unknown. In this assessor-blinded follow-up study, 194 children were assessed. The attrition rate until the 4-year-old assessment was 10%. We measured blood pressure and anthropometrics of 4-year-old singletons born following COH-IVF (n = 63), or born following modified natural cycle IVF (MNC-IVF, n = 52) or born to subfertile couples who conceived naturally (Sub-NC, n = 79). Primary outcome measures were the SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) percentiles. Anthropometrics included triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness. Causal inference search algorithms and structural equation modeling were applied. Explorative analyses suggested a direct effect of COH on SBP percentiles and on subscapular skinfold thickness. This hypothesis needs confirmation with additional, preferably larger, studies. Search algorithms were used as explorative tools to generate hypotheses on the causal mechanisms underlying fertility treatment, blood pressure, anthropometrics and other variables. More studies using larger groups are needed to draw firm conclusions. Our findings are in line with other studies describing adverse effects of IVF on cardiometabolic outcome, but this is the first study suggesting a causal mechanism underlying this association. Perhaps ovarian hyperstimulation negatively influences cardiometabolic outcome via changes in the early environment of the oocyte and/or embryo, possibly resulting in epigenetic modifications of key metabolic systems that are involved in BP regulation. Future research needs to confirm the role of ovarian stimulation in poorer cardiometabolic outcome and should investigate the underlying mechanisms. Our proposed causal models provide research hypotheses to be tested with new data from preferably larger studies. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The study was supported by the University Medical Center Groningen, the Cornelia Foundation and the school for Behavioral- and Cognitive Neurosciences. The sponsors of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report.
    Human Reproduction 12/2013; · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Does ovarian hyperstimulation, the in vitro procedure, or a combination of these two negatively influence blood pressure (BP) and anthropometrics of 4-year-old children born following IVF? Higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) percentiles were found in 4-year-old children born following conventional IVF with ovarian hyperstimulation compared with children born following IVF without ovarian hyperstimulation. Increasing evidence suggests that IVF, which has an increased incidence of preterm birth and low birthweight, is associated with higher BP and altered body fat distribution in offspring but the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We performed a prospective, assessor-blinded follow-up study in which 194 children were assessed. The attrition rate up until the 4-year-old assessment was 10%. We measured BP and anthropometrics of 4-year-old singletons born following conventional IVF with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH-IVF, n = 63), or born following modified natural cycle IV (MNC-IVF, n = 52), or born to subfertile couples who conceived naturally (Sub-NC, n = 79). Both IVF and ICSI were performed. Primary outcome measures were the SBP percentiles and diastolic BP (DBP) percentiles. Anthropometric measures included triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness. Several multivariable regression analyses were applied in order to correct for subsets of confounders. The value 'B' is the unstandardized regression coefficient. SBP percentiles were significantly lower in the MNC-IVF group (mean 59, SD 24) than in the COH-IVF (mean 68, SD 22) and Sub-NC groups (mean 70, SD 16). The difference in SBP between COH-IVF and MNC-IVF remained significant after correction for current, early life and parental characteristics (B: 14.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 5.39-22.79), whereas the difference between MNC-IVF and Sub-NC did not. DBP percentiles did not differ between groups. After correction for early life factors, subscapular skinfold thickness was thicker in the COH-IVF group than in the Sub-NC group (B: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.03-0.53). Larger study groups are necessary to draw firm conclusions. An effect of gender or ICSI could not be properly investigated as stratifying would further reduce the sample size. We corrected for the known differences between MNC-IVF and COH-IVF but it is possible that the groups differ in additional, more subtle parental characteristics. In addition, we measured BP on 1 day only, had no control group of children born to fertile couples (precluding investigating effects of the underlying subfertility) and included singletons only. As COH-IVF is associated with multiple births we may have underestimated cardiometabolic problems after COH-IVF. Finally, multivariable regression analysis does not provide clear insight in the causal mechanisms and we have performed further explorative analyses. Our findings are in line with other studies describing adverse effects of IVF on cardiometabolic outcome but this is the first study suggesting that ovarian hyperstimulation, as used in IVF treatments, could be a causative mechanism. Perhaps ovarian hyperstimulation negatively influences cardiometabolic outcome via changes in the early environment of the oocyte and/or embryo that result in epigenetic modifications of key metabolic systems that are involved in BP regulation. Future research needs to assess further the role of ovarian hyperstimulation in poorer cardiometabolic outcome and investigate the underlying mechanisms. The findings emphasize the importance of cardiometabolic monitoring of the growing number of children born following IVF. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The study was supported by the University Medical Center Groningen, the Cornelia Foundation and the school for Behavioral- and Cognitive Neurosciences. The sponsors of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report.
    Human Reproduction 12/2013; · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Recent studies suggest that in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are associated with suboptimal cardiometabolic outcome in offspring. It is unknown whether preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which involves embryo biopsy, affects blood pressure, anthropometrics and the frequency of received medical care.Method:In this prospective multi-centre follow-up study we assessed blood pressure, anthropometrics and received medical care of 4-year-olds born to women randomly assigned to IVF/ICSI with PGS (n=49) or without PGS (controls; n=64). We applied linear and generalized linear mixed-effects models to investigate possible effects of PGS.Results:Blood pressure in the PGS and control group was similar: 102/64 mmHg and 100/64 mmHg, respectively. Main anthropometric outcomes in the PGS versus control group were: BMI: 16.1 vs. 15.8, triceps skinfold: 108 vs. 98 mm, and subscapular skinfold: 54 vs. 53 mm (all p-values>.05). More PGS children than controls had received paramedical care (speech, physical or occupational therapy: 14 (29%) vs. 9 (14%), p=.03 in multivariable analysis), the frequency of medical treatment was comparable.Conclusion:PGS does not seem to affect blood pressure or anthropometrics in 4-year-olds. The higher frequency of received paramedical care after PGS may suggest an effect of PGS on subtle developmental parameters.Pediatric Research (2013); doi:10.1038/pr.2013.137.
    Pediatric Research 08/2013; · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The effect of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) on neurodevelopment is not fully understood. Probably, IVF does not affect traditional measures of neurodevelopment in infancy. Recently, an instrument, the Infant Motor Profile (IMP), was developed that evaluates the quality of motor behaviour. It includes the evaluation of movement variation (i.e. movement repertoire size), a parameter reflecting the integrity of cortical connectivity. AIM: To evaluate the effect of ovarian hyperstimulation and the in vitro procedure on movement variation during infancy. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SUBJECTS: Singletons born following IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with conventional controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH-IVF/ICSI, n=68), in a modified natural cycle (MNC-IVF/ICSI, n=57) and natural conception born to subfertile couples (Sub-NC, n=90). OUTCOME MEASURES: Children were assessed with the IMP at 4, 10 and 18months, resulting in a total IMP score and five domain scores: variation, variability, symmetry, fluency and performance. Primary outcome was the domain score variation. RESULTS: A significant effect of study group was observed for the variation score up until 18months of age (p=0.039). COH-IVF/ICSI children had a significantly lower mean variation score than MNC-IVF/ICSI children (mean difference [95% confidence interval] -1.010 [-1.766; -0.254]). Mean variation scores of COH-IVF/ICSI and Sub-NC children were similar; the same held true for the comparison between MNC-IVF/ICSI and Sub-NC. Total IMP scores and other domain scores of the three groups were similar. CONCLUSION: The present study did not demonstrate a clear effect of ovarian hyperstimulation and the in vitro procedure on movement variation throughout infancy.
    Early human development 04/2013; · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: STUDY QUESTION: Does embryo biopsy inherent to preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) affect neurological, cognitive and behavioural development of 4-year-old children? SUMMARY ANSWER: PGS does not seem to affect neurological, cognitive and behavioural development of 4-year-old singletons; however, our data suggest that it may be associated with altered neurodevelopment in twins. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Evidence concerning the safety of PGS on neurodevelopmental outcome in offspring is scarce. The present study provides information on neurodevelopmental, cognitive and behavioural outcome of 4-year-old PGS offspring. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A prospective, assessor-blinded follow-up study of children born to women who participated in a multi-centre RCT on the effect of IVF with or without PGS. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: At 4 years, 49 children (31 singletons, 9 sets of twins) born following IVF with PGS and 64 children (42 singletons, 11 sets of twins) born following IVF without PGS (controls) were assessed (post-natal attrition 18%). Neurological development was evaluated with the standardized, age-specific and sensitive neurological examination according to Hempel, resulting in a neurological optimality score (NOS), a fluency score and the rate of adverse neurological outcome. Primary outcome was the fluency score, as fluency of movements is easily reduced by subtle dysfunction of the brain. Cognitive development was evaluated with the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children; behavioural development was evaluated with the Child Behavior Checklist. The effect of PGS was analysed with a mixed effects model. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Based on the intention to treat analysis, neurodevelopmental outcome of PGS children was similar to that of controls. However, additional analyses indicated that PGS affected neurodevelopmental outcome of twins in a different way than that of singletons. The fluency score of singletons born following PGS was similar to that of control singletons [mean values, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 12.2 (11.5;12.8) and 12.2 (11.6;12.8)], respectively, P = 0.977) that was also true for the other neurodevelopmental parameters. The fluency score of PGS twins was significantly lower than that of control twins [mean values, 95% CIs: 10.6 (9.8;11.3) and 12.3 (11.5;13.1)], respectively, P = 0.001); the same was true for the NOS. In addition, PGS in twins was associated with a higher sequential intelligence quotient score. On the other hand, other neurodevelopmental parameters were similar for PGS twins and control twins. Post hoc sample size calculation for the primary outcome parameter, the fluency score, indicated that the study groups, including the subgroups of singletons and twins, were adequately powered. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: We assessed singletons and twins who contributed to the generalizability of the study. A limitation of our study is the relative small size of our study groups and the selective dropout in both groups (dropouts PGS group: higher gestational age; control group: less well-educated parents). These preclude the conclusion that PGS per se is not associated with neurodevelopmental, cognitive and behavioural problems in singletons and the conclusion that PGS is associated with altered neurodevelopmental outcome in twins. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The need for careful long-term monitoring of children born following embryo biopsy remains, as it is still applied in the form of PGD and it is still unknown whether embryo biopsy affects long-term neurodevelopmental outcome. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): The RCT was financially supported by the Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), The Netherlands (grant number 945-03-013). The follow-up at 4 years was financially supported by the University Medical Center Groningen (grant number: 754510), the Cornelia Foundation, the Junior Scientific Master Class and the Postgraduate School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences, Groningen, The Netherlands. The sponsors of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report. There are no conflicts of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN76355836.
    Human Reproduction 03/2013; · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether time to pregnancy (TTP) is associated with neurological condition of 2-year-old children born to subfertile parents. DESIGN: Data collected in a prospective, assessor-blinded follow-up study were used for cross-sectional analyses. PATIENTS: Participants were the singletons of the Groningen assisted reproductive technique cohort study: all children were born to subfertile couples (n=209). The active waiting TTP of the couples obtained from fertility charts was recorded in years and months, and was converted to decimal years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The presence of minor neurological dysfunction (MND), assessed with the Hempel examination. RESULTS: MND was present in 16 (7.7%) children. TTP of children with MND (median 4.1, range 1.6-13.2) was significantly longer than that of children without MND (median 2.8, range 0.1-13.3; Mann-Whitney U test p=0.014). Logistic regression analysis on the contribution of TTP to MND resulted in a crude OR of 1.27 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.54). After correction for gestational age, parental age and parental level of education, the association remained statistically significant: OR=1.30 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.61). CONCLUSIONS: Increased TTP was associated with suboptimal neurological development in 2-year-old children. This suggests that subfertility and its determinants are involved in the genesis of neurodevelopmental problems.
    Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition 03/2013; · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AIM: The Infant Motor Profile (IMP) is a qualitative assessment of motor behaviour in infancy. It consists of five domains: movement variation, variability, fluency, symmetry, and performance. The aim of this study was to assess interobserver reliability and concurrent validity of the IMP with the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) and an age-specific neurological examination. METHOD: Fifty-nine preterm infants (25 females, 34 males; median gestational age 29.7wks, median birthweight 1285g) and 146 term infants (74 females, 72 males; median gestational age 40.1wks, birthweight 3500g) were included. Assessments were performed at corrected ages of 4, 6, 10, 12, and 18 months and consisted of the IMP, AIMS, and an age-specific neurological examination. Interobserver reliability was investigated on a sample of 25 video recordings. Non-parametric statistics were used to analyse the data. RESULTS: Interobserver reliability was high (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.95). At all ages, AIMS scores correlated weakly to fairly with total IMP scores (Spearman's ρ 0.36-0.55), but moderately to strongly with scores on the performance domain of the IMP (Spearman's ρ 0.47-0.84). A clear relation was found between total IMP score and outcome of the neurological examination (Kruskal-Wallis p<0.001 at all ages). INTERPRETATION: Interobserver reliability of the IMP is good. Concurrent validity with the AIMS is best for the IMP performance domain. Concurrent validity with age-specific neurological examination is very good.
    Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 03/2013; · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) on morphologic outcome in children. DESIGN: Follow-up of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). SETTING: University hospital. PATIENT(S): Two-year-old children born to mothers who participated in an RCT on the efficacy of PGS: 50 children born after in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with PGS (intervention group; PGS+) and 72 children born after IVF/ICSI only (control group; PGS-). Sixty-six age-matched children conceived without any form of assisted reproduction were recruited separately in a local public health service center (reference group). INTERVENTION(S): PGS. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Body surface examination and anthropometry. The evaluation of morphologic abnormalities allowed assessment of children's phenotype in detail. Morphologic abnormalities were classified as major abnormalities (abnormal development in organogenesis, deformations, disruptions, or dysplasia) and minor anomalies (deviations in phenogenesis). RESULT(S): The percentage of children with ≥1 major abnormality was 28% in the PGS+ and 35% in the PGS- group [difference -7%, 95% CI -23% to 10%]. The percentage of children with ≥1 minor anomaly was 64% in the PGS+ and 67% in the PGS- group [difference -3%, 95% CI -15% to 20%]. In the reference group 30% of the children had ≥1 major abnormality [95% CI 20% to 43%] and 74% had ≥1 minor anomaly [95% CI 62% to 84%]. CONCLUSION(S): No statistically significant differences were found in minor anomalies between children conceived after IVF/ICSI with or without PGS. There is <2.5% chance of ≥10% more major abnormalities in children born after PGS.
    Fertility and sterility 11/2012; · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An increased risk of major congenital abnormalities after IVF and ICSI has been described, but underlying mechanisms are unclear. This study evaluates the effects of ovarian hyperstimulation, the in vitro procedure and time to pregnancy (TTP) - as proxy for the severity of subfertility - on the prevalence of dysmorphic features. Participants were singletons born following controlled ovarian hyperstimulation-IVF/ICSI (COH-IVF/ICSI; n=66), or modified natural cycle-IVF/ICSI (MNC-IVF/ICSI; n=56), or to subfertile couples who conceived naturally (Sub-NC; n=86). Dysmorphic features were assessed according to the method of Merks et al., and are classified into 'minor variants' (minor anomalies or common variants) and 'abnormalities' (clinically relevant or irrelevant abnormalities). We focussed on minor anomalies as they indicate altered embryonic development and because they have the advantage of a higher prevalence. The prevalences of any of the outcome measures were similar in the three groups. One or more minor anomalies, our primary outcome measure, occurred in 50% of COH-IVF/ICSI, 54% of MNC-IVF/ICSI and 53% of Sub-NC children. TTP in years was significantly associated with abnormalities (adjustedOR=1.20; 95%CI=1.02-1.40), especially with clinically relevant abnormalities (adjustedOR=1.22; 95%CI=1.01-1.48). The study indicates that ovarian hyperstimulation and the in vitro procedure are not associated with an increase in dysmorphic features. The positive association between TTP and clinically relevant abnormalities suggests a role of the underlying subfertility and its determinants in the genesis of dysmorphic features.
    Early human development 07/2012; 88(10):823-9. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More couples are delaying childbirth resulting in an increase of age-related subfertility in women. Subfertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments may affect couples' psychological well-being. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether factors related to IVF/ICSI affect anxiety and mental health in couples 1 year after childbirth. In this cohort study, we included couples with a singleton pregnancy following IVF/ICSI treatment (n=113) and subfertile couples who naturally conceived (NC; n=83). Parental trait anxiety (Dutch version of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) and mental health (Dutch version of General Health Questionnaire) were assessed 1 year after childbirth. The influence of fertility-related factors was analyzed with logistic regression analyses. One hundred and ninety-six couples participated, 93% of those eligible. Trait anxiety and mental health were similar in IVF/ICSI and NC groups. However, NC fathers had more often mental health scores in the clinical range (21%) than fathers in the IVF/ICSI group (9%). The risk of having a trait anxiety or mental health score in the clinical range was reduced by the presence of one of the following factors: for females a higher number of IVF/ICSI treatment cycles, and a maternal cause of subfertility, for males having been treated by IVF/ICSI and a longer time to pregnancy. The present study indicates (i) that IVF/ICSI treatment is not associated with an increase in clinically relevant Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and General Health Questionnaire scores in parents 1 year after childbirth and (ii) a higher number of IVF/ICSI treatment cycles and a longer time to pregnancy were associated with less trait anxiety and better mental health. A limitation of the study is the absence of mental health and trait anxiety data at baseline.
    Human Reproduction 05/2012; 27(8):2389-95. · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infertility treatment has an acknowledged psychological impact on women and their partners; however, information about the development of parental well-being after child birth is inconclusive. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) has been suggested to increase the efficacy of infertility treatments, but the effect it may have on parental well-being is unknown. To evaluate parental distress and anxiety at one and two years after successful infertility treatment and to explore variables that might affect parental outcome, including PGS and child behaviour. Follow-up of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) on the efficacy of PGS. Parents (n=101) that successfully underwent IVF/ICSI with or without PGS. At one and two years, parental distress and anxiety were assessed with the General Health Questionnaire 30 and State Trait Anxiety Inventory, respectively. At two years, child development and behaviour were assessed with the Dutch Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II and the Child Behaviour Checklist 1½-5, respectively. PGS had no effect on parental distress or anxiety. Child behaviour problems were associated with parental distress and anxiety. There was a main effect of time on parental distress, with distress levels decreasing over time. We found no objection to PGS related to parental psychological distress and anxiety. When parental psychological problems are present after infertility treatment, the results of this study could be useful to support counselling.
    Early human development 03/2012; 88(9):725-30. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims: Increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities in embryos is considered as a cause of low pregnancy rate with advanced maternal age. PGS has been suggested to improve pregnancy outcome. Since PGS includes extensive embryo manipulation, PGS could have an effect on morphological outcome in children. A follow-up study of a RCT comparing IVF/ICSI with PGS (PGS+) and without (PGS-) was performed to evaluate morphological abnormalities of live born children at 2 years of age.
    Pediatric Research 11/2011; · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. Prospective, assessor-blinded, follow-up study of children born to women randomly assigned to in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) with or without PGS. University Medical Center, Groningen, and Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Fifty-four PGS children and 77 controls. PGS. Mental, psychomotor, neurologic, and behavioral outcomes in 2-year-old children as measured with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, the Hempel neurologic examination, and the Child Behavior Check List. The mental, psychomotor, and behavioral outcomes at 2 years in children born after IVF with and without PGS were similar overall. The PGS children showed lower neurologic optimality scores than the control children. Scores on all tests were within the normal range. Conception with PGS does not seem to be associated with impaired mental, psychomotor, or behavioral outcomes by age 2. However, the lower neurologic optimality scores found in the PGS children may signal less favorable long-term neurologic outcomes in PGS children. Our findings stress the need for safety evaluations with new assisted reproductive techniques before large-scale implementation.
    Fertility and sterility 05/2011; 96(1):165-9. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate whether children's cognitive and psychomotor development and behavior at 2 years are affected by ovarian hyperstimulation and the IVF laboratory procedures or subfertility. Prospective longitudinal cohort study. University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Singletons born after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH)-IVF (n=66) and modified natural cycle-IVF (n=56), singletons born to subfertile couples who conceived naturally (subfertile-naturally conceived, n=87), and a reference group of 101 2-year-old singletons born to fertile couples. None. Bayley Scales of Infant Development and Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. Mental and psychomotor development and behavioral outcome in COH-IVF, modified natural cycle-IVF, and subfertile-natural cycle groups was not different. Developmental outcome and behavior of the subfertile groups were largely similar to those of the fertile reference group. Nevertheless, the subfertile groups scored higher on the scale of anxious-depressed behavior than the reference group. This present relatively small study found no differences in cognitive and psychomotor development and behavior at 2 years in children born after COH-IVF or modified natural cycle-IVF or naturally conceived children of subfertile parents. Replication of the study is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. Furthermore, long-term follow-up is needed to confirm these findings in older children.
    Fertility and sterility 04/2011; 95(7):2283-9. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Up to 4% of children are born following assisted reproduction techniques (ART) yet relatively little is known on neurodevelopmental outcome of these children after 18 months of age. Only a limited number of long-term follow-up studies with adequate methodological quality have been reported. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of ovarian hyperstimulation, IVF laboratory procedures and a history of subfertility on neurological condition at 2 years. Singletons born after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation IVF (COH-IVF, n = 66), modified natural cycle IVF (MNC-IVF, n = 56), natural conception in subfertile couples (Sub-NC, n = 87) and in fertile couples (reference group, n = 101) were assessed (using Hempel approach) by neurological examination at 2 years of age. This resulted in a neurological optimality score (NOS), a fluency score and the prevalence of minor neurological dysfunction (MND). Primary outcome was the fluency score, as fluency of movements is easily affected by subtle dysfunction of the nervous system. Fluency score, NOS and prevalence of MND were similar in COH-IVF, MNC-IVF and Sub-NC children. However, the fluency score (P < 0.01) and NOS (P < 0.001) of the three subfertile groups were higher, and the prevalence of MND was lower (P = 0.045), than those in the reference group. Neurological condition of 2 year olds born after ART is similar to that of children of subfertile couples conceived naturally. Moreover, subfertility does not seem to be associated with a worse neurological outcome. These findings are reassuring, but we have to keep in mind that subtle neurodevelopmental disorders may emerge as children grow older.
    Human Reproduction 03/2011; 26(3):703-12. · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Infant Motor Profile (IMP) is a qualitative assessment of motor behaviour of infants aged 3 to 18 months. The aim of this study was to investigate construct validity of the IMP through the relation of IMP scores with prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal variables, including the presence of brain pathology indicated by neonatal ultrasound imaging of the brain. A longitudinal prospective study was performed in a group of 30 term infants (12 females, 18 males; median gestational age 40.1 wks, range 37.6-42 wks) and 59 preterm infants (25 females, 34 males; median gestational age 29.7 wks, range 25-34.7 wks). IMP assessments were performed at (corrected) ages of 4, 6, 10, 12, and 18 months. Socio-economic and perinatal data were collected, which, in the case of preterm infants, included information on periventricular leukomalacia and intraventricular haemorrhage based on neonatal cranial ultrasound. Data were analysed by fitting mixed-effects models. Gestational age, socio-economic status, and 5-minute Apgar scores were significant determinants of IMP scores in the total group of infants (p<0.001, <0.002, and <0.042 respectively). In the subgroup of preterm infants, IMP scores were significantly affected by brain lesions on neonatal ultrasound (p<0.001) and by socio-economic status (p=0.001). The findings support the construct validity of the IMP: IMP scores are clearly associated with relevant determinants of neuromotor function.
    Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 09/2010; 52(9):e209-15. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Singletons born after IVF are at risk of adverse pregnancy outcome, the cause of which is unknown. The present study investigated the influence of ovarian stimulation and IVF laboratory procedure on birthweight. Birthweight of singleton pregnancies resulting from IVF treatment with (n=161) and without ovarian stimulation (using a modified natural cycle (MNC) protocol; n=158), and spontaneous conceptions in subfertile patients (n=132) were compared. Mean+/-SD birthweight of singletons after conventional IVF with ovarian stimulation, MNC-IVF and natural conception were 3271+/-655, 3472+/-548 and 3527+/-582 g (P=0.001). After adjustment for biological and social confounders, the difference in birthweight between conventional IVF and MNC-IVF was reduced to 88 g and the differences between conventional IVF and MNC-IVF versus spontaneous conceptions to 123 and 23 g, respectively. The results lead to three conclusions. First, a major part of the crude differences in birthweight between the three groups is related to patient and pregnancy characteristics. Second, the IVF laboratory procedure has no influence on birthweight. Third, although a trend towards lower birthweight after ovarian stimulation was found, an adverse effect of ovarian stimulation on birthweight was not substantiated.
    Reproductive biomedicine online 08/2010; 21(2):245-51. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    K R Heineman, K J Middelburg, M Hadders-Algra
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    ABSTRACT: During motor development, infants learn to select adaptive motor strategies out of their motor repertoire. The aim of this study is twofold: first, to investigate whether the presence of adaptive motor behaviour can be observed reliably, and second, to explore the ages at which clinically observable transition to adaptive motility emerges for four specific motor functions: abdominal progression, sitting motility, reaching and grasping. The reliability part of the study included 38 assessments of term and preterm infants in the age range of 4-18 months. The longitudinal prospective study included 30 term born typically developing infants with nine assessments between 3 and 18 months. On the basis of standardized video-recordings of spontaneous motor behaviour, the presence of adaptive motor strategies was scored. Intra- and interobserver reliability were good. Clinically observable transitions to adaptive selection started to emerge from 6 months onwards and peaked between 8 and 15 months. Transitions developed gradually and occurred at specific ages for different motor functions. Transition to adaptive motor behaviour can be observed reliably. Adaptive motor behaviour develops gradually from 6 months onwards at function-specific ages. Comparison of our results to literature showed that changes measured by neurophysiologic methods precede clinically observed transitions.
    Acta Paediatrica 04/2010; 99(4):618-24. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) on neurodevelopmental outcome in children. We conducted a prospective follow-up study of children born to women randomly assigned to in vitro fertilization with or without PGS. Primary outcome was adverse neurologic outcome at 18 mo; secondary outcomes were types of minor neurologic dysfunction (MND), neurologic outcome before 18 mo, neonatal intensive care admission, and congenital malformations. Twenty women in the PGS group participated with 25 children and 26 women in the control group participated with 31 children. Five PGS pregnancies (25%) and four control pregnancies (15%) resulted in birth of at least one child with an adverse neurologic outcome (adjusted odds ratio: 2.3 [0.4-12.0]). Dysfunction in fine motor abilities and posture and muscle tone dysregulation tended to be present more frequently after PGS. Neurologic outcome before 18 mo, neonatal intensive care admission, and prevalence of congenital malformations were similar in study and control pregnancies. Nevertheless, at child level, rates of adverse outcome were higher after PGS. In conclusion, outcome in pregnancies after in vitro fertilization (IVF) with and without PGS was similar. The small sample size precludes the conclusion that PGS is not associated with less favorable neurologic outcome. Safety of new assisted reproductive techniques should be evaluated before large-scale implementation. ABBREVIATIONS::
    Pediatric Research 04/2010; 67(4):430-4. · 2.67 Impact Factor
  • Hedwig K Kikkert, Karin J Middelburg, Mijna Hadders-Algra
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    ABSTRACT: Parental anxiety and stress may have consequences for infant neurological development. To study relationships between parental anxiety or well-being and infant neurological development approximately one year after birth. Longitudinal study of a birth cohort of infants born to subfertile couples. Subjects: 206 parent-child dyads. Infant neurology was assessed with the Touwen Infant Neurological Examination (TINE) at 10 months and a developmental questionnaire at 12 months. Parental measures included trait anxiety measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and well-being measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Maternal trait anxiety was associated with a less optimal neurological condition (r(s)= -0.19, p<0.01) of the infant. This association persisted after adjusting for confounders and results were confirmed by the outcome of the developmental questionnaire. Paternal trait anxiety and parental well-being were not related to the infant's neurodevelopmental outcome. Infants of mothers with high trait anxiety have an increased vulnerability to develop a non-optimal nervous system. The association may be mediated in part by early programming of monoaminergic systems. Future research should include an exploration of specific windows of vulnerability to maternal anxiety.
    Early human development 03/2010; 86(3):171-7. · 2.12 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

102 Citations
87.74 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2013
    • University of Groningen
      • • Department of Developmental Neurology
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
    • Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands