Rare Cancer More Common in IVF Children


Some rare childhood cancers may be more common in children conceived using IVF, according to a recent study.


In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers found that children conceived using IVF had a 28 per cent higher risk of developing certain embryonic cancers than children conceived naturally. Embryonic cancers arise from tumours that develop from embryonic cells that remain in the body after birth. The study also found that children born via IVF were 2.5 times more likely to develop liver cancers.


However, the overall rate of childhood cancer was very low in both groups of children – at 0.11 per cent for the IVF group and 0.09 percent for the non-IVF group. The study found no difference in the rates of most other cancer types between children born following IVF and those conceived naturally.


The researchers analysed the medical records of 275,686 children conceived through IVF and 2,266,847 children conceived naturally in the USA between 2004 and 2013. They tracked children for around four and a half years, detecting a total of 321 cancer cases in the IVF group and 2042 in the non-IVF group. This means that per year, around 252 children per million got cancer in the IVF group versus 192 per million in the group conceived naturally.


The researchers noted that the increased risk may not be due to the process of IVF itself. Underlying factors related to the parents’ infertility could also contribute to the findings.

BioNews. April 8. JAMA Pediatrics. April 1.

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