Studies have suggested that children with birth defects are at a higher risk of developing cancer. But whether children conceived via in-vitro fertilization are at a higher risk of developing cancer or not is not known. This study aims to determine if children with birth defects and, born via in vitro fertilization, are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

This cohort study of live births, birth defects, and cancer included a total of 1,00,639 children born to fertile women and 52,776 children conceived via IVF. Birth defects in children born to both fertile women and via IVF were considered. The primary outcome of the study was a cancer diagnosis, along with hazard ratios measured using Cox proportional hazard regression models.

The risk of cancer was higher in children with a major birth defect compared with children with no birth defects (HR 3.15). The risk of cancer was even higher in children with birth defects born via in vitro fertilization (HR 6.15). The incidence of cancer in children with a nonchromosomal defect was lower compared with children with a chromosomal defect.

The research concluded that children born via IVF and had birth defects were at a higher risk of cancer compared with children born to fertile mothers.