Children conceived after fertility treatments are at increased risk for pediatric cancers


BEER-SHEVA, Israel…April 25, 2017 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have found that babies born from mothers who underwent fertility treatments are at increased risk of developing many types of pediatric cancers and tumors (neoplasms).

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common pediatric neoplasms are leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, neuroblastomas, Wilms tumors, and lymphoma, including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin.

The study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, was a population-based cohort analysis of babies born between 1991 and 2013 at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel, with follow-up to age 18.

"In Israel, all fertility interventions, which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ovulation induction (OI), are fully covered by insurance, enabling citizens of all backgrounds access to these treatments," says Prof. Eyal Sheiner, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS), member of its Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a physician at Soroka.

Of the 242,187 newborn infants in the study, 237,863 (98.3 percent) were conceived spontaneously; 2,603 (1.1 percent) were conceived after in vitro fertilization, and 1,721 (0.7 percent) were conceived after ovulation induction treatments.

During the follow-up period of approximately 10.6 years, 1,498 neoplasms (0.6 percent) were diagnosed. The incidence rate for neoplasms was highest among children either after IVF (1.5/1000) and somewhat lower for OI births (1.0/1000) as compared to that of naturally conceived children (.59/1000).

"The research concludes that the association between IVF and total pediatric neoplasms and malignancies is significant," Prof. Sheiner says. "With increasing numbers of offspring conceived after fertility treatments, it is important to follow up on their health."


Other researchers who participated in the study include Prof. Tamar Weinstock, Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi and Ruslan Sergienko, BGU Department of Public Health; Dr. Daniella Landau, BGU Department of Pediatrics; Drs. Ari Harlev and Asnat Walfisch, BGU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Dr. Idit Segal, Israel Ministry of Health.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit to learn more.

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