The risk for cancer among children of women who underwent in vitro fertilization

Cancer. 2000 Jun 15;88(12):2845-7. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20000615)88:12<2845::aid-cncr26>;2-e.


Background: The possible association between ovarian carcinoma and ovulation-inducing drugs has led to renewed interest in the potential carcinogenic risks of these drugs. In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been linked to multiple pregnancies and possibly congenital malformations. However, to the authors' knowledge the association between IVF and pediatric cancer has been described only in sporadic case reports. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence rate of pediatric cancer among a cohort of children born after IVF.

Methods: A historic prospective study based on a cohort of 332 children from 1254 women who underwent IVF treatment between 1981-1994 was performed. Medical files were reviewed and names were linked to the National Population and Cancer Registries. Pediatric cancer incidence rates were compared with the expected age-adjusted rates of the general population during the respective time period.

Results: No cancer cases were observed among the study cohort with respect to 1.7 cases that were expected.

Conclusions: Because the small cohort analysis in the current study lacked the necessary power to reach definite conclusions, larger prospective studies are needed to assess the potential carcinogenic effect on children born after ovulation induction and IVF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Ovulation Induction / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment