Children conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) may have a higher risk of developing hepatic tumors compared to normal pregnancy, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The researches showed a notable link between occurrence of childhood cancers and IVF.
Researchers from University of Minnesota conducted the study in a population-based cohort comprising 2,75,686 children conceived via IVF and 2,266,847 conceived normally and were followed up for ten years. The rate of hepatic tumors was significantly higher (18.1) among children of IVF cohort than among children conceived naturally (5.7). The incidence of other cancers did not differ between both groups.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is mostly associated with birth defects and imprinting disorders. Because these conditions are associated with an increased risk of childhood cancer, many of which originate in utero, descriptions of cancers among children conceived via IVF are important.
A total of 321 cancers were detected among the children conceived through in vitro (49.1% girls and 50.9% boys) and a total of 2042 cancers were detected among the children not conceived via IVF (49.2% girls and 50.8% boys).
The overall cancer rate (per 1 000 000 person-years) was 251.9 for the IVF group and 192.7 for the non-IVF group.
However, researchers from University of Minnesota have been quoted in a news report saying that the study only gives a small, marginally significant association between IVF and overall cancer in childhood.
Discussing on the source of increased cancer risk, Prof. Alastair Sutcliffe, Professor of General Pediatrics, University College of London said “It is indeed plausible that this slight increase in hepatoblastoma is an effect of IVF process rather than the genetic nature of subfertility.”
Though the study refers to “small and rare tumors” researchers suggest that a continued follow-up for cancer occurrence among children conceived via IVF is warranted.