BACKGROUND: Adverse perinatal outcomes are more common in singletons born following assisted reproductive technology (ART) and this would predict an increase in hospitalization during infancy and early childhood. METHODS: We investigated hospital admissions during the first 3 years of life for all singleton children born in Western Australia between 1994 and 2000 [1328 ART, 162 350 spontaneously conceived (SC)]. RESULTS: ART infants had a significantly longer birth admission and were four times more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) than SC infants. ART children had a 60% greater risk of one or more admissions in their first year and an equal risk of admission in their second and third years. Their length of stay in hospital was longer in each age period. Maternal, infant and socio-economic confounders accounted for most of the increased admission risk in the first year. However, after adjustment, a 20% increase in the risk of admission to NICU (P < 0.05) and admission to hospital during the first year (P < 0.05) remained. CONCLUSIONS: Couples undertaking ART should be aware that ART infants are more likely to be admitted to a NICU, to be hospitalized in the first year of life and to stay in hospital longer than other children.