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Study: Children born through IVF more likely to develop cancer

Health & Science

Children born through IVF are 17% more likely to develop cancer than non-IVF children, a new study has revealed.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have conducted a study looking at the link between IVF and childhood cancer.

In the study, the team looked at huge dataset of children born between 2004 and 2013, including 275,686 born through IVF, and 2,266,847 who were naturally conceived.

Their analysis revealed that the overall rate of cancer in IVF children is about 17% higher than in non-IVF children.

In particular, the rate of hepatic tumours was much higher, with IVF children 2.5 times more likely to have these types of tumours.

Thankfully, there was no difference in the rates of other cancers between the two groups.

Professor Logan Spector, who worked on the study, said: “The most important takeaway from our research is that most childhood cancers are not more frequent in children conceived by IVF.

“There may be an increased risk of one class of cancers in children; however, due to the nature of our study, we could not distinguish between IVF itself versus the parents' underlying infertility.”

While the study found a link between IVF and childhood cancer, it’s important to not that this doesn’t suggest IVF causes cancer.

Dr Jane Stewart, Chair of the British Fertility Society, said: “An association between IVF and cancer is found but it is impossible to say what the cause is.

“We still need to know whether it is the treatment itself or the underlying infertility that accounts for this difference.

“There are also lifestyle and other factors that could contribute to cancers in this group, which are not explored in the paper.”

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