Test-Tube Babies and Childhood Cancers: Is There a Link?

With the growing number of test-tube fertilized babies and childhood cancer incidences, a study is looking into the relationship between the process of conception and cancer. However, researchers are arguing that the process of fertilization is not the culprit for the incidences of childhood cancers. So what is? According to Swedish specialist who authored the study, it’s not in vitro fertilization but rather the genetic makeup of the parents.

They are also pointing to the high incidences of premature births and lung immaturity among a high percentage of test-tube babies, both of which are linked to cancer risks later in life. According to Dr. Bengt Kallen, who leads the study at the University of Lund, the risk for cancer is rather small and shouldn’t be a cause for worry among parents or expectant parents. The research involved studying Swedish children who were conceived via IVF (wherein the father’s sperm fertilizes the mother’s egg cell in a petri dish before the zygote is implanted back in the womb).

The research yielded varied results when health risks like birth defects and cancer were focused on. In the Cleveland Clinic, the chief of obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Tommaso Falcone expressed interest in the study and said he wasn’t sure if the same results would be yielded in countries like the United States, where races are more diverse. In the US alone, 1% of all births per annum, or approximately 57,000 children, are conceived through IVF.

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