Assisted reproductive technology and safety in the Nordic countries

The Committee of Nordic ART and Safety (CoNARTaS) was established five year ago and have the responsibility for the Nordic ART and Safety database including all children born after assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark since 1982. After five years of successful collaboration between the four Nordic countries all Nordic ART children (92.000) born in 1982 to 2007 are included in the database. Adding the next five years from 2008-2012 will include another 50.000 children and provide us with unique information in terms of quantity and quality.

The database will create a basis for numerous epidemiological studies concerning ART children including both ph.d. and post doc projects. All four countries have agreed to update the database every fifth year. The planned research project on the new dataset will focus on the reproductive health of the ART children and long-term morbidity such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and pubertal disturbances.

Further school performance in ART children can be monitored through the Nordic socio-economic registers. More than five million ART children have been born worldwide and in the Nordic countries ART children accounts for 0.5-5% of the total birth cohorts. The unique Nordic health registers with the individual personal number system allows identification of any single individual through all available public health registers i.e. ART and national patient registers.

The Nordic registers are unique as so far no other countries in the world have similar possibilities of linking data of ART treatment, mother, farther and offspring. The first cross-linkage of all the Nordic ART individuals contains more than 92.000 infants and a control group of spontaneously conceived children, which is four-fold the size of the ART population. Three scientific papers have been published and one is submitted based on the first results from the CoNARTaS database further five manuscripts are in preparation.

More than 52.000 ART treatments are performed annually in the Nordic countries and the Nordic ART and Safety database already have impact on the future ART treatments as the results from this group are highly appreciated, when taken into account new ART treatment techniques such as long term in-vitro culture (blastocyst culture) and new freezing techniques (vitrification). The CoNARTaS database will provide us with unique information on quality of the highly used ART treatments in the Nordic countries.