- In vitro fertilization (IVF) showed a small association with overall childhood cancer in a large US cohort study.
- Increased risk for rare embryonal cancers is not clearly attributable to IVF and may be related to underlying infertility.
Why this matters
- 1.7% of US births result from IVF.
- IVF is associated with increased risk for preterm birth, lower birth weight, and structural birth defects.
- Cancer risk was slightly higher in children born following IVF compared with the non-IVF group: HR, 1.17 (95% CI, 1.00-1.36).
- Highest cancer risk associated with IVF was for hepatic cancer: HR, 2.46 (95% CI, 1.29-4.70).
- Observational cohort study.
- Cohort taken from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinical Outcomes Reporting System (SART CORS), data from more than 91% of all IVF cycles in the United States.
- Incidence of childhood cancer in IVF and non-IVF groups compared.
- Funding: National Cancer Institute; NIH.
- Did not look at risk for cancer in subfertile women; increased cancer rate may result from fertility-related issues and not IVF itself.
- Unmeasured confounders possible.