Long-term follow-up of ICSI-conceived offspring compared with spontaneously conceived offspring: a systematic review of health outcomes beyond the neonatal period

S. R. Catford, R. I. McLachlan, M. K. O'Bryan, J. L. Halliday

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A significant increase in the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) since its introduction in 1992 has been observed worldwide, including beyond its original intended use for severe male factor infertility. Concerns regarding ICSI include the effects of poor quality spermatozoa on offspring health and future fertility, and of the technique itself. The health and development of ICSI-conceived children beyond early infancy have not been comprehensively assessed. Objective: A systematic review of health outcomes of ICSI-conceived offspring beyond the neonatal period compared to spontaneously conceived (SC) offspring. Design: PubMed, OVID Medline/Embase, InformIT, Web of Science, and ProQuest databases were searched for studies reporting on health outcomes in ICSI-conceived offspring beyond 28 days after birth. Main outcomes measure(s): Physical and psychosocial health. Results: The search strategy yielded 2826 articles. Of these, 2580 were not relevant or did not meet inclusion criteria and 138 were duplicates. One hundred and eight full-text papers were evaluated further, and 48 satisfied the inclusion criteria. Most studies reported on neurodevelopment during early infancy and childhood with reassuring results. Growth, vision, and hearing of ICSI and SC offspring also appear comparable, although important differences in general physical health, and particularly metabolic and reproductive health have been described, including recently poorer semen quality among ICSI-conceived young adult men compared to SC peers. Conclusion: Whilst neurodevelopment, growth, vision, and hearing appear similar between ICSI and SC children, evidence suggests differences in general physical health, and metabolic and reproductive endpoints. The clinical significance of many findings, however, remains unclear, and further prospective, large, and good quality studies with a focus on all these health outcomes in ICSI-conceived young adults are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-653
Number of pages19
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • children
  • follow-up
  • ICSI
  • intracytoplasmic sperm injection
  • offspring

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