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In Vitro Fertilization Linked to Increased Risk of Blood Cancers

New research published in the online medical journal Pediatrics found that children who are born via in vitro fertilization (IVF), rather than who are conceived naturally, are at an increased risk of developing blood cancers. While the risk is increased, researchers behind the study say that parents should not panic, nor should future parents rule out IVF as a method of conception; the relative risk for children still remains low.

The Rates of Blood Cancer Amongst Children Conceived Via IVF

According to the study, those children who are conceived via IVF have a 67 percent increased risk of developing the blood cancer leukemia, and three times the risk of developing Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The conclusion was reached after an analysis of more than 1.6 million Norwegian children. Of the 1.6 million children involved in the study, about 25,800 were conceived using in vitro fertilization.

The Risk of Cancer – Should Parents Worry?

While there is an increased risk for children who are conceived using IVF of developing blood cancer, researchers say that parents should not worry. In fact, the risk of developing blood cancer for children who are conceived via IVF is still extremely low; the risk of being diagnosed with leukemia in the first 10 years of life in Norway is about 0.5 out of 1,000. For children who were conceived using IVF, the risk increases, but only to about 0.8 out of 1,000.

Further, out of all of the kids involved in the study who had been conceived using IVF, there were only 17 reported cases of leukemia and three cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma out of 25,800 – this amounts to about .065 percent and .012 percent of children, respectively. The increase should not discourage parents from considering in vitro fertilization if natural pregnancy is not possible.

Why Are Kids Who Are Conceived Via IVF More at Risk?

The exact reasons behind why kids who are conceived via IVF are more at risk of developing blood cancers is not fully understood. However, there are a number of suspected reasons, according to Melissa Bondy and Susan Amirian (authors of the study), quoted by These reasons might include the fact that most mothers who get pregnant via IVF are typically older than are mothers who conceive naturally, which has been linked to blood cancers. Further, parents’ genetics may play a role – for example, the same reason that parents could not get pregnant naturally may be part of the reason that their child is at higher risk of blood cancers.

Again, parents should not fret too much about conceiving via IVF when other options have been exhausted.

At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we understand first hand how important your child’s safety is. If you believe that your child has been harmed due to the act of a medical professional, we can help you. To schedule a free case consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys now, call our offices now at (215) 567-3500.

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