No increased risk of cancer in children born after fertility treatment


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Children born after assisted reproductive technology (ART) do not have a greater risk of developing cancer than other children, according to research published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The nationwide historical cohort study included all live-born offspring from women treated with sub-fertility treatments between 1980 and 2001 at one of 14 Dutch clinics.

Of 47,690 live-born children, 24,269 were ART-conceived, 13,761 were naturally conceived and 9,660 were conceived naturally or through fertility drugs but not by ART. Cancer incidence was ascertained through linkage with the Netherlands Cancer Registry.

Median follow-up was 21 years. In total, 231 cancers were observed. Overall cancer risk was not increased in ART-conceived children compared with naturally-conceived children from sub-fertile women (HR 1.00; 95% CI 0.72-1.38) nor the general population (standardised incidence ratios [SIRs] 1.11; 95% CI 0.90-1.36).

Non-significant increased risks were observed in children conceived by intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (HR 1.52; 95% CI 0.81-2.85) or cryopreservation (HR 1.80; 95% CI 0.65-4.95). Risks of lymphoblastic leukaemia (HR 2.44; 95% CI 0.81-7.37) and melanoma (HR 1.86; 95% CI 0.66-5.27) were non-significantly increased for ART-conceived children.

The study is now being expanded to include more than 30,000 ART-conceived children born in more recent years.

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