Impact of maternal prepregnancy body mass index on cognitive and metabolic profiles of singletons born after in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Maternal prepregnancy obesity and overweight is associated with increased risks for obesity, overweight, and intellectual disability at early age of offspring conceived through in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic inject.

Volume 112, Issue 6, Pages 1094–1102.e2


Yimin Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., Huanmiao Yan, M.D., Minyue Tang, M.D., Yanling Fu, M.D., Xiaoling Hu, Ph.D., Fanghong Zhang, M.D., Lanfeng Xing, M.D., Danqing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.



To evaluate the effect of elevated maternal prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) on intelligence and growth of singletons after in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


Cohort study.


University hospital.


Singletons born to infertile couples who underwent an autologous IVF/ICSI cycle from 2002 to 2012 and were followed up with at the age of 3–6 years from 2009 to 2017.


We compared the health of offspring born to overweight/obese women and normal weight women through assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Age- and sex-specific BMI z-scores, verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ), performance intelligence quotient (PIQ), and full intelligence quotient (FIQ).


After adjusting for confounders, obese women were more likely than normal-BMI women to have obese children (20.0% vs. 5.1%), and overweight women had increased risks of having overweight children (13.6% vs. 8.2%) or obese children (10.1% vs. 5.1%) compared with normal-BMI women. Maternal prepregnancy BMI had a weakly negative effect on estimated IQ of children, but after adjusting for parental educational level, the IQ scores of offspring were similar between groups. However, after adjusting for confounders, offspring of obese women showed increased prevalence of intellectual disability (IQ <80) in VIQ (16.9% vs. 8.5%) and FIQ (10.8% vs. 3.9%) compared with normal-BMI women.


Maternal prepregnancy obesity is associated with increased risks for obesity and overweight at early ages in offspring conceived through IVF/ICSI and may also affect the risk of intellectual disability of offspring. Overall, we suggest that weight management is essential for women before entering an IVF/ICSI cycle for ensuring long-term child health.

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