A recent large Dutch study confirmed what previous smaller studies had shown that children conceived through IVF don’t show any increase risk of cancer. This study followed nearly 50,000 children and young adults for an average of 21 years. 24,269 were conceived through IVF, 9,660 were conceived naturally or with fertility drugs in sub fertile women, and 13,761 naturally conceived. The debt have a national registry to follow all children born to IVF.
The strength of this study was the very large numbers and the very long follow up of the offspring. 231 childhood cancers were observed in this study. The overall cancer rate was not increased in IVF conceived children and young adults when compared with naturally conceive offspring from sub fertile women and compared with the general population. The researchers also looked at children conceived with cryopreserved embryos and specifically with ICSI and did not find a significant increase in cancer In these offspring. However, these numbers were too small to more definitely state there was no cancer increase in these offspring. Previous smaller studies have generally been reassuring although some non-significant increases in some forms of cancer had been seen. This study was also reassuring that no increases in any specific type of cancer were seen. This study should be reassuring to patients who need to undergo IVF. Continuing long-term studies of offspring from frozen embryos need to be performed so we can have the same reassuring information.
This is the largest study of its kind and did not show any significant increases in overall cancer and no significant increases any specific kind of cancers. If you have questions about IVF treatment, please contact us. We are here to help.
See Human Reproduction Vol 34, April 2019