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Does IVF Cause More Cancer in Children or Not?

ivf-embryoThe short answer is we don’t know. But another news story is out on a study that raises more questions than it answers regarding the harm to children born via IVF.

From the story:

Children born as a result of IVF are a third more likely to get cancer, a major study found.

Scientists said those born after fertility treatments were 33 per cent more likely to have childhood cancer. They were 65 per cent more likely to develop leukemia and 88 per cent more likely to develop cancers of the brain and central nervous system.

First, we have to realize that IVF is a relatively new technology of only the last 30 or so years. The sample sizes for studying the effects of IVF on children will be small. We are learning as we go, but more problematic is that we are learning ON our children as we go.

Although some in bioethics dream of the day when all children are born via IVF so that we can usher in the modern eugenics of the day, assuring all children born will be of ‘good genes,’ the majority of children born today are created the old-fashioned way.

Second, what is causing this higher incidence of cancers in children born via IVF technology remains a mystery. Is it the high doses hormones the mother takes? Is it the IVF procedures themselves? Is it a problem within the mother or the father, which technology is forcing onto these children, who without the technology wouldn’t be born? Or is it something altogether different, or a combination of the above?

What I do know is that this is experimentation on children. In the desperation to have a child, no matter what, some may be willing to gamble on their children’s health and well-being.

Reprinted with permission by The Center for Bioethics and Culture.


Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl has 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and in senior-level nursing management. Her writings have appeared in various publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBC, PBS, and NPR, and called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address egg trafficking. She serves on the North American Editorial Board for Ethics and Medicine and the Board of Reference for Joni Eareckson Tada’s Institute on Disability.
  • Vanessa

    Scary. It would also be interesting to see how the high doses of hormones affect the mothers. There would almost have to be some kind of measurable effect.

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