Methods: We are conducting a clinical review of an existing, well characterised cohort comprising 547 IVF-conceived adults and 549 matched controls. We are measuring cardiovascular intermediate phenotypes, metabolic parameters and respiratory function, complemented by epigenome-wide DNA methylation analysis. A pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of our proposed protocol and its acceptability to participants. Participants attend a 2–3 h clinical assessment and complete a study-specific online questionnaire. Measurements include: 1) cardiovascular phenotypes: carotid artery intima-media thickness and distensibility, retinal vascular calibre, resting blood pressure, pulse wave velocity and pulse wave analysis; 2) respiratory function: spirometry, plethysmography, multiple breath washout; 3) auxology: height, weight, waist circumference, bio-impedance. Blood is collected for 4) biomarkers of cardiometabolic profile including inflammatory markers and 5) epigenetic analysis.
Discussion: Recruitment for this clinical review is challenging as many of the participants have moved to regional, interstate or international locations. Additionally, many female participants are pregnant or breastfeeding, and are therefore ineligible. Nevertheless, comprehensive strategies have been developed to optimize recruitment. Given the increasing use of IVF and related technologies, the potential long-term consequences for risk of common adult diseases is an important clinical and public health issue.
- Assisted reproductive technologies
- Cardiovascular health
- In vitro fertilization
- Metabolic health
- Respiratory health