Children born after In Vitro Fertilization at 33% higher Risk of Cancer

Fertility treatment and childhood cancer risk: a systematic meta-analysis

IVF Babies May Be at Higher Cancer RiskChildren born after in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other fertility treatments appear to be at modestly elevated risk of cancer, although causality still isn’t clear, a meta-analysis showed. ”

DES Info commented:  IVF is now very common and given the history with DES, there appears to be a linkage for cancer in this population. Research needed!

Read IVF Babies May Be at Higher Cancer Risk
by Crystal Phend, MedPage Today.

Abstract

Objective
To clarify the association between fertility treatment and the risk for cancer in children.

Patient(s)
Twenty-five cohort and case-control studies involving children born after fertility treatment as the exposure of interest and cancer as the outcome.

Main Outcome Measure(s)
Medline was searched through September 2012 to identify relevant studies. The study-specific estimates for each cancer outcome were combined into a pooled relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) by a meta-analytic approach.

Result(s)
We found that children born after fertility treatment were at increased risk for all cancers (RR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.08–1.63) and for hematological cancers (RR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.32–1.91), central nervous system/neural cancers (RR = 1.88; 95% CI, 1.02–3.46), and other solid cancers (RR = 2.19; 95% CI, 1.26–3.80). For specific cancer types, we found increased risks for leukemias (RR = 1.65; 95% CI, 1.35–2.01), neuroblastomas (RR = 4.04; 95% CI, 1.24–13.18), and retinoblastomas (RR = 1.62; 95% CI, 1.12–2.35) associated with fertility treatment.

Conclusion(s)
The results of the largest meta-analysis on this topic to date indicate an association between fertility treatment and cancer in offspring. However, our results do not rule out that factors related to underlying subfertility, rather than the procedure itself, are the most important predisposing factors for childhood cancer.

Sources Fertility treatment and childhood cancer risk:
a systematic meta-analysis
, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2013.

4 thoughts on “Children born after In Vitro Fertilization at 33% higher Risk of Cancer”

  1. This is a pretty horrifying news! I used to work with a relatively “small” infertility clinic in NY in data maintenance and accounting. Even in that small clinic at least 10 IVF procedures were done weekly. Not sure about the success rates but even assuming 1% success… the number of potential cancer risk patients are born is high. Well, IVF is a good revenue generating procedure.
    Sunish

  2. This is so sad! I’m glad I drew the line before this step through the infertility process. For me it was too emotional to go that far. It breaks my heart to think that those who had success might now have health issues.
    Mary-Margaret

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