More than five decades have passed since in vitro fertilization (also known as IVF) has been introduced as an alternative for people who are unable to conceive children naturally. Now, according to a new study, IVF increases the risks of cancer in children.
In our days IVF is an umbrella term for a large number of procedures which aim to help a woman to become pregnant. In most cases, the egg will be combined with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg will become an embryo, and it will be implanted in a woman’s uterus, resulting in a successful pregnancy as desired.
In vitro fertilization is banned in some countries, due to religious or ethical reasons. In most cases, less invasive treatment is recommended at first, with IVF being deemed to be the final solution for many couples.
A new study suggests that children conceived in vitro are more likely to develop hepatic tumors. In vitro fertilization has been associated with some congenital disabilities in the past, a reason which served as a base for the current study.
In vitro fertilization might cause hepatic cancer in children
The researchers used data provided by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinical Outcomes Reporting System. The data was collected over eight years and took into account over 27,5686 children who were conceived with the help of IVF.
For every child, a set of 10 normal births was selected, and a cohort of 2,266,847 births was used for comparison.
The study has concluded that the overall cancer rate among IVF children was higher by 17% in comparison to children which were conceived naturally. A large number was represented by embryonic cancers, which in most cases were hepatic tumors.
There is no conclusive proof that in vitro fertilization methods can be blamed, but the results of the study have prompted researchers to explore the phenomenon. The rates of other cancers were quite similar between the two groups.
The study has been published in a scientific journal, and more information will become available in the future as more studies will be conducted.