Fertility problems may increase risk of cancer in children

By KSL.com | Posted - Feb 19th, 2013 @ 11:38pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The connection between infertility treatments and an increased risk of cancer among the women who receive them has long been a topic of debate, but a Danish study has shifted the focus from the affect of infertility on women to its implications for children.

More than 3.7 million babies are born each year with help from fertility treatments, according to a 2012 CBS News report.

"Children of women who had problems getting pregnant have a higher risk of getting child cancer," according to a study conducted by Kræftens Bekæmpelse, The Danish Cancer Society.

The study, based on the health of 2.8 million children born in Denmark from 1964 to 2006, did not distinguish between women who had received fertility treatment and those who had not.

In acknowledging the lack of conclusive evidence regarding the effect of fertility treatments on children, Marie Hargreave, the study's head researcher, said, "If negative effects of assisted reproductive technology are present, they could be related to the underlying infertility rather than the procedure itself."

Regardless of the cause, though, the fact that childhood illnesses are affecting great numbers of families is indisputable.

According to a recent article by Deseret News reporter Lois Collins, 13,400 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed among children in the United States this year.

"You could fill 54 (25-child classrooms) a year with children who won't survive cancer," according to Collins' report.

Hargreave's next step in understanding the connection between infertility and childhood cancer is to investigate the effects of the fertility treatments.

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