Children Conceived After Fertility Treatments Are at Increased Risk for Pediatric Cancers According to BGU Researchers

BGU researchers have found that babies born from mothers who underwent fertility treatments are at increased risk of developing many types of paediatric cancers and tumours (neoplasms).


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



The study, "Fertility treatments and pediatric neoplasms of the offspring: results of a population-based cohort with a median follow-up of 10 years", published in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, was a population-based cohort analysis of babies born between 1991 and 2013 at Soroka University Medical Centre in Beer-Sheva with follow-up to age 18. 

"In Israel, all fertility interventions, which include in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and ovulation induction (OI), are fully covered by insurance, enabling citizens of all backgrounds access to these treatments," says Prof. Eyal Sheiner, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Dean for Student Affairs at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS), a physician at Soroka University Medical Center and member of the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Of the 242,187 newborn infants in the study, 237,863 (98.3 percent) were conceived spontaneously; 2,603 (1.1 percent) were conceived after in vitro fertilisation, 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 either after IVF (1.5/1000) and somewhat lower for OI births (1.0/1000) as compared to that of naturally conceived children (.59/1000). 

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

Other researchers who participated in the study include Prof. Tamar Weinstock, Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi and Ruslan Sergienko, Department of Public Health, BGU; Dr. Daniella Landau, Division of Pediatrics, BGU; Drs. Ari Harlev and Asnat Walfisch, Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, BGU; and Dr. Idit Segal, Israel Ministry of Health.