The well-being of adolescents conceived through medically assisted reproduction: a population-level and within-family analysis
European Journal of Population, 38:5, 915–949 (2022)
Medically assisted reproduction (MAR) plays an increasingly important role in the realization of fertility intentions in advanced societies, yet the evidence regarding MAR-conceived children’s longer-term well-being remains inconclusive. Using register data on all Finnish children born in 1995–2000, we compared a range of social and mental health outcomes among MAR- and naturally conceived adolescents in population-averaged estimates, and within families who have conceived both through MAR and naturally. In baseline models, MAR-conceived adolescents had better school performance and the likelihood of school dropout, not being in education or employment, and early home-leaving were lower than among naturally conceived adolescents. No major differences were found in mental health and high-risk health behaviours. Adjustment for family sociodemographic characteristics attenuated MAR adolescents’ advantage in social outcomes, while increasing the risk of mental disorders. The higher probability of mental disorders persisted when comparing MAR adolescents to their naturally conceived siblings. On average, MAR adolescents had similar or better outcomes than naturally conceived adolescents, largely due to their more advantaged family backgrounds, which underscores the importance of integrating a sociodemographic perspective in studies of MAR and its consequences.