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Babies born via IVF are 2 times more likely to get cancer before age 18, Israeli Study

“It is absolutely not a reason for panic or for childless couples to decide not to have an IVF baby,” researcher Prof. Eyal Shiner said.

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Babies born from mothers who underwent fertility treatments (IVF) are at a higher but still very small risk of developing cancers before the age of 18, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have found.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common pediatric neoplasms are leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, neuroblastomas, Wilms tumors, and lymphoma, including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin.

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Prof. Eyal Shiner, vice dean of BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and a member of Soroka University Medical Center’s obstetrics/gynecology department told The Jerusalem Post. “The risk is twice as high than children who are naturally conceived. However, it is absolutely not a reason for panic or for childless couples to decide not to have an IVF baby.”

The study was a population-based cohort analysis of  more than 200,000 babies born between 1991 and 2013, with a follow-up to age 18.

“In Israel, all fertility interventions, which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ovulation induction (OI), are fully covered by insurance, enabling citizens of all backgrounds access to these treatments,” says Prof. Eyal Sheiner, vice dean of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS).

Of the 242,187 newborn infants studied, 237,863 (98.3 percent) were conceived spontaneously; 2,603 (1.1 percent) were conceived after in vitro fertilization, and 1,721 (0.7 percent) were conceived after ovulation induction treatments.

During the follow-up period of approximately 10.6 years, 1,498 neoplasms (0.6 percent) were diagnosed. The incidence rate for neoplasms was highest among children after IVF and somewhat lower for OI births as compared to that of naturally conceived children.

“The research concludes that the association between IVF and total pediatric neoplasms and malignancies is significant,” Sheiner said. “With increasing numbers of offspring conceived after fertility treatments, it is important to follow up on their health.”

The study was published in the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.





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