Healthy Baby

Children conceived with assisted reproductive technologies are not at greater risk for cancer

The results of a recent study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Child Health (affiliated with University College London) suggest that children conceived using assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are not at greater risk of developing cancer as compared to children who were conceived naturally.

The population-based study was conducted with the assistance of the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the UK’s National Registry of Childhood Tumours (NRCT). The HFEA records of 106, 381 children born with the assistance of ARTs between 1992 and 2008 were linked with NRCT records to determine the number of children who developed cancer. The rates of cancer among children in the general population were then compared with rates observed in the ART cohort.

The results suggest that overall there was no elevated risk of developing cancer among children conceived using ARTs. In the ART cohort, 108 children developed cancer, whereas 109.7 cases would have been expected given the incidence of cancer among children in the general population.

Says lead researcher Dr. Alastair Sutcliffe,

“This is the largest study of its kind to be reported and is unique in that the data are derived from a single country and in a homogeneous population. The absence of cancer in children – or in adults – can be considered a measure of long-term health resilience, so we are happy to report that in the country where IVF was first successfully applied there is no convincing evidence that ART children are at any greater risk of cancer than those naturally conceived…It is true that we found increased risks of a few rare cancers, but these would need to be studied across large international datasets to confirm if they were genuine findings or just an effect of their very rareness.” 

To read more about this study, click here.

To read more about assisted reproduction, click here.


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