Children from fertility treatments may have increased risk of cancer

La leucemia y los tumores del sistema nervioso central se identificaron como los tipos de cáncer más comunes.

Leukemia and central nervous system tumors were identified as the most common types of cancer.

Photo: Serhii Bobyk / Shutterstock

The number of children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer in fertility treatments is increasing worldwide, but they can face a serious health risk.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a tool that is primarily available to many couples struggling with fertility issues. This includes fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which embryos are created by mixing eggs and sperm in the laboratory.

The process means that the fertilized egg can be transferred immediately to the uterus or can be frozen for later use (The frozen embryo is thawed before implantation).

The transfer of frozen-thawed embryos constitutes today a large number of fertility treatments throughout the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infertility is a global health problem that affects millions of people of childbearing age around the world. The available data indicates that between 48 million couples and 186 million people have infertility worldwide.

The new study was conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the findings are reported in the open access journal PLOS Medicine.

The researchers analyzed the medical data of more than 8 million children in the Nordic countries, including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Among these children, 171,744 were born by ART, of whom 22,630 were born after frozen-thawed transfer.

Analysis of the data showed an increased risk of cancer among children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer compared to those born after fresh embryo transfer and without ART.

Leukemia and central nervous system tumors were identified as the most common types of cancer seen in these children.

Nevertheless, an increased risk of cancer was found among children born after ART use in general.

Furthermore, only 48 children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer developed cancer in the study. By stating that this number is low, the researchers raise the need to conduct more research to confirm the possible link between this type of fertility procedure and an increased risk of cancer.

Bad habits can cause infertility in men and women

It is a disease of the male or female reproductive system consisting of the inability to get pregnant after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Primary infertility is the inability to achieve a pregnancy, while secondary infertility refers to the inability to achieve a pregnancy after a previous conception

This condition may be due to male or female factors, a combination of both, or be idiopathic. In any case, in both women and men, environmental and lifestyle factors —such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and exposure to environmental pollutants—.

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