IVF Babies More Likely to Get Cancer, New Study Says

Filed in Gather News Channel by on July 19, 2010 0 Comments

A new scientific study out of Sweden finds there’s a higher rate of childhood cancers for children conceived through in vitro fertilization, or IVF. The study found babies who started life in a Petri dish had a 42% increased risk of developing childhood cancers like leukemia and brain cancers compared to babies conceived the old-fashioned way. But the most fascinating part of the study is the fact that the Swedish researchers believe the higher rates of cancer aren’t due to the way the babies were conceived, but rather the fact that parents who resort to IVF to have kids may have their own genetic problems. Also, IVF babies are more likely to be born prematurely – which may be a risk factor for later health problems.

In vitro fertilization is a wild ride. I experienced one round of IVF last year, after being diagnosed with a disease that rendered me infertile. At first it seems like Frankenstein science, injecting hormones daily into your belly, having egg and sperm unite not inside the body, but instead in a Petri dish warmed by an incubator. But when you get the phone call that those eggs and sperm have united to create an embryo, you instantly feel like a parent. You even get to see pictures of the embryos before they transfer them back into your womb.

In my case, one of the embryos did implant, and I became pregnant, only to miscarry weeks later. This might seem like I’m sharing w-a-a-a-a-y too much information, but it’s important to have empathy for couples who want to become parents, even when their bodies won’t let them. And while it might seem like this study showing an increased risk of cancer might dissuade potential parents from undergoing IVF, I don’t think it will. The drive to become a mom or dad can consume your life. Thoughts???

Source: Associated Press

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