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Study: Why IVF is Linked with Cancer Risk

Time,  July 19, 2010

Roughly 3.5 million children worldwide have been conceived by IVF over the past three decades, and many of them are now entering adulthood. With the growing population, researchers have begun pursuing larger studies on various aspects of development in IVF children — including the risks of conditions like autism, diabetes and cancer — and the results have hinted at some possible long-term health problems.

The latest of these studies, published in the July issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, sought to evaluate the risk of cancer in childhood and early adulthood in IVF children. First, the bad news: the current study, the largest one of its kind so far, found a statistically significant increase in cancer risk in children conceived via IVF, compared with those who were traditionally conceived. Now the good news: the absolute risk of cancer in these children was still very low, and the authors think it may be due to other factors related to the parents' infertility, rather than the process of IVF itself.

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