Dr Alastair Sutcliffe – specialist in both general and adolescent paediatrics – and his team tracked more than 100,000 children conceived by IVF from 1992 to 2008 and compared the cancer rates in those children with those observed across the whole population of children in UK.
According to the cohort study, children who were conceived with in vitro fertilization have no increase in the overall risk of cancer – developed before 15 years of age – as those conceived naturally.
We linked data on all children born in Britain between 1992 and 2008 after assisted conception without donor involvement with data from the United Kingdom National Registry of Childhood Tumours to determine the number of children in whom cancer developed before 15 years of age. Cohort cancer rates were compared with population-based rates in Britain over the same period, with stratification for potential mediating and moderating factors, including sex, age at diagnosis, birth weight, singleton versus multiple birth, parity, parental age, type of assisted conception, and cause of parental infertility.
Full Text of Methods…
The cohort consisted of 106,013 children born after assisted conception (700,705 person-years of observation). The average duration of follow-up was 6.6 years. Overall, 108 cancers were identified, as compared with 109.7 expected cancers (standardized incidence ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 to 1.19; P=0.87). Assisted conception was not associated with an increased risk of leukemia, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, central nervous system tumors, or renal or germ-cell tumors. It was associated with an increased risk of hepatoblastoma (standardized incidence ratio, 3.64; 95% CI, 1.34 to 7.93; P=0.02; absolute excess risk, 6.21 cases per 1 million person-years) and rhabdomyosarcoma (standardized incidence ratio, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.26 to 4.82; P=0.02; absolute excess risk, 8.82 cases per 1 million person-years), with hepatoblastoma developing in 6 children and rhabdomyosarcoma in 10 children. The excess risk of hepatoblastoma was associated with low birth weight.
Full Text of Results…
There was no increase in the overall risk of cancer among British children born after assisted conception during the 17-year study period. Increased risks of hepatoblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma were detected, but the absolute risks were small. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others.)
- Study: Cancer Risk among Children Born after Assisted Conception , NEJM, 7 Nov 2013.
- Read IVF Doesn’t Raise Overall Risk For Childhood Cancers , NPR Shots, 6 Nov 2013.
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