MONDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- Children conceived using in vitro fertilization have a higher risk of developing cancer than do children who were conceived naturally, new research shows.
While the study found the risk of cancer was increased by 42 percent for Swedish youngsters conceived with IVF, the absolute risk of cancer was still quite low.
"We found a roughly 50 percent increased risk for cancer in the IVF children, which means that if the risk without IVF is two per 1,000, it increases to three per 1,000 after IVF," explained study author Dr. Bengt Kallen, a professor emeritus in embryology at the Tornblad Institute at the University of Lund in Sweden.
The findings will be published in the August print issue of Pediatrics, but were posted online on July 19.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproduction technology. Using eggs harvested from the prospective mother and sperm given by the prospective father, doctors can create human embryos that are then implanted into the mother's uterus.
Babies born using this technology are known to have an increased risk of birth defects and of birth complications, such as preterm birth. Previous research has also suggested that children born through this method of conception may also have an increased risk of cancer.
Using the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the researchers gathered information on almost 27,000 children who were born using IVF in Sweden from 1982 through 2005.
When they looked at the number of children who had cancer, they found that 53 children born from IVF had developed cancer compared to the expected rate of 38 cases of cancer in non-IVF children.
Other factors appeared to influence the risk of cancer as well. Children born before 37 weeks' gestation and those with a low birth weight, respiratory problems or a low Apgar score (a test given at birth to assess a ne
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