Epigenetic changes in the DNA of IVF babies could make them more prone to diseases like diabetes and obesity in later life. “These epigenetic differences have the potential to affect embyronic development and foetal growth, as well as influencing long-term patterns of gene expression associated with increased risk of many human diseases,” says Professor Carmen Sapienza, a geneticist at Temple University in Philadelphia, who jointly led research published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.
And there is a danger, as the proportion of children conceived through IVF rises in the population, that the changes could be transmitted to their own children, thus creating a more disease-prone population.
However, identifying the epigenetic differences between IVF babies and normally-conceived babies is one thing. Attributing it to IVF itself is another. It is also possible that a higher level of epigenetic changes in the couple could be the explanation of their infertility, not the IVF process itself. ~ London Sunday Times, Jan 10