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IVF Babies may be at an Increased Risk for Cancer

Thursday, August 26, 2010 by: Megan Rostollan
Tags: IVF, cancer, health news

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(NewsTarget) According to a recent Swedish study published in the July issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, babies conceived via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) are more likely to get various cancers by age 19 than their naturally conceived counterparts (1). This study was one of the largest of its kind conducted on 2.4 million births including nearly 27,000 babies conceived through IVF from 1982 through 2005. The study found that 56 of those nearly 27,000 babies developed childhood or early adulthood cancers, versus 38 expected cases in babies naturally conceived during the same time. That amounts to a 42% increased cancer risk; a risk which researchers say is quite small, and really only translates into 1 additional case of cancer per every 1,000 babies conceived through in vitro fertilization. So should a slight increase in risk be ignored?

Many parents and health care providers have well deserved questions about the safety of IVF. In vitro fertilization has only been around for about three decades, meaning that there has not yet been sufficient time to study the long-term health effects IVF has on those conceived through such methods. But the good news is that early generations of IVF babies are now entering adulthood and some of these questions may soon begin to be answered more clearly, though it will likely be many more years before the full effects of in vitro fertilization are understood entirely.

There are many other health related concerns with in vitro fertilization; some of those concerns include whether or not there is an increased risk of autism (2), diabetes, obesity, developmental problems, genetic defects, and malformations. Some studies have shown a two-fold increase in autism cases in children conceived via IVF or other fertility treatments. Other studies have shown that IVF babies are often born preterm (3) which can cause respiratory problems after birth and has been linked to various illnesses later in life, including cancers. Other risks for mother and baby are present with assisted reproduction including increase cesarean sections and perinatal mortality (4).

Researchers have found these slight increases in risk in many studies over the years, but still say more research is necessary on large populations before any definite conclusions can be drawn.



About the author

Megan Rostollan is a Certified Family Herbalist and works with her husband David, a private natural health and nutrition consultant (www.reforminghealth.com). She is also the author of a blog which can be found at NaturalHousewifery.com. Her areas of greatest interest include women's reproductive and prenatal health, as well as organic and green living and dietary and lifestyle changes.

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