Do fertility treatments result in your offspring having a higher cancer risk? Science says no.
If you’ve read up on the various fertility treatments available, you’ll know that these carry a certain degree of risk for both mother and child. Take IVF, for instance – it’s been said that children conceived using this particular Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) may experience different health conditions later in life.
Thankfully, though, a recent study published in the Human Reproduction journal shows that children conceived using fertility treatments are no more likely to contract cancer (as opposed to those conceived naturally). Read on to find out more!
Study follows children conceived as a result of fertility treatments for 21 years
The study, which is authored by head of epidemiology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam Flora van Leeuwen, followed nearly 48,000 children in the Netherlands for an average of 21 years.
Out of the 48,000 children, over 24,000 were conceived by ART, and approximately 14,000 were naturally conceived. The remaining 10,000 children were conceived naturally or with the help of fertility drugs, but not with the involvement of IVF or other ART.
Across the 21 years, 231 of the children developed cancer. After the researchers adjusted their findings for a number of factors, the conclusion was that the children conceived via ART did not have an increased risk of cancer.
However, Flora van Leeuwen notes that there was still a non-statistically significant increase in cancer risk in children conceived after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The same goes for children conceived from embryos that had been frozen before being thawed.
Why might children conceived via ART experience more health issues?
According to ob-gyns and fertility experts, children conceived via ART might face more health issues due to parental risk factors. In other words, couples who undergo IVF tend to be older and in poorer health. If the mother is obese, for instance, then it might be the maternal obesity that impacts the foetal cardiac system and contributes to an increased risk of health conditions – not the ART itself.
The good news? Ob-gyns say that if parents are healthy, the children that they conceive via ART should not face any excessive health risks. This means that you’ve got a good chance of giving birth to a happy, healthy baby (who won’t be at higher risk of developing any health conditions later on in life), as long as you’ve got your exercise, diet and other lifestyle factors under control.
If you need some help getting into tip-top condition, check out our article: 4 fertility resolutions to make in 2019. Once you’re eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, this will put you on the path to conceiving a healthy baby via ART. We’ve got our fingers crossed for you!