French researchers claim that cancer in newborns could be a result of ovary fertility drugs consumed by their mothers. It is the first instance when ovarian stimulating drugs are touted as leukaemia cause. Study report was presented at the Childhood Cancer 2012 Conference, hosted by the charity Children with Cancer UK.
Research panel of Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (INSERM), based near Paris, found out that fertility drugs increase risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) by 2.6 times. Risk of developing acute myeloid leukaemia was found to be 2.3 folds in children owing to ovarian stimulating drugs. Moreover, it was found that mothers unable to conceive for over a year were 50 percent more likely to transmit acute lymphoblastic leukaemia to their children.
In all, 2,445 French mothers were assessed during the research. Out of these, 764 were the mothers of children identified with acute leukaemia, whereas 1,681 were the mothers of healthy children. Researchers did not observe any cancer connection in case of vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination techniques of fertility.
Dr. Jeremie Rudant, heading the research, elaborated, "It has always been hypothesized that assisted reproductive technologies may be involved in the onset of childhood cancer as they involve repeated treatment at the time of conception and/or manipulation of the sperm and egg. And it is now established that a majority of acute leukaemia have a prenatal origin."
The results were not conclusive enough to be certain of potential development of childhood leukaemia due to fertility drugs. Therefore, more research studies, investigations and trials are needed to ascertain what triggers childhood cancer and infertility problems.
It is estimated that infertility affects one in six couples round the globe, and approximately 250,000 babies are born each year with an assistance of fertility drugs.