No Increased Cancer Risk for Children Conceived via IVF

After more than 20 years of follow-up, a study published in Human Reproduction found that children conceived via assisted reproductive technology do not appear to have an increased cancer risk.

Researchers conducted a nationwide historical cohort study with a prospective follow-up. They assessed all live-born offspring from women treated with assisted reproductive technology (i.e., in vitro fertilization [IVF] and intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI]) who participated in the OMEGA study and were treated at one of the 12 Dutch IVF clinics or two fertility clinics between 1980 and 2001.

Among the 47,690 live-born children, 24,269 were conceived via assisted reproductive technology, 13,761 were conceived naturally, and 9,660 were conceived naturally or through fertility drugs, but not by assisted reproductive technology. Researchers used medical records and questionnaires to gain conception information. They also assessed The Netherlands Cancer Registry for cancer incidence information.

After a median follow-up of 21 years (interquartile range = 17-25 years), 231 cancers occurred. The overall cancer risk was not increased in children conceived by assisted reproductive technology compared with naturally-conceived children from subfertile women (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.00; 95% CI, 0.72-1.38) nor the general population (standardized incidence ratio = 1.11; 95% CI, 0.90-1.36).

Once the children reached 18 years and older, the HR of cancer in assisted reproductive technology-conceived children versus naturally-conceived children was 1.25 (95% CI, 0.73-2.13).

The researchers observed a slightly but non-significantly increased risk of cancer in children conceived by ICSI (HR=1.52; 95% CI, 0.81-2.85) or cryopreservation (HR=1.80; 95% CI, 0.65-4.95). Risks of lymphocytic leukemia (HR=2.44; 95% CI, 0.81-7.37) and melanoma (HR=1.86; 95% CI, 0.66-5.27) were non-significantly increased among assisted reproductive technology-conceived children versus naturally-conceived children.

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Source: Human Reproduction