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An embryologist pulls out of the dewar with liquid nitrogen straws with frozen embryos and egg cells.Shutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) — A new study released September 1 declared that babies born after the use of frozen embryo transfers are at a higher risk of childhood cancer than those conceived naturally or through other artificial methods.

Data was collected from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which included millions of children born between 1984 and 2015 that were all conceived with assisted reproduction technology. The study specifically considered whether babies born “after frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET)” showed a “higher risk of childhood cancer than children born after fresh embryo transfer and spontaneous conception.”

After finding that babies who come from frozen embryos do run a higher risk of cancer, the study included a warning in its conclusions about the practice of freezing embryos for later use.

“The results should be interpreted cautiously based on the small number of children with cancer, but the findings raise concerns considering the increasing use of FET, in particular freeze-all strategies without clear medical indications,” the study states.

The most common types of cancer among the children in the study were leukemia and central nervous system tumors, but the results showed an increase in risk of any type.

“The reason for a possible higher risk of cancer in children born after FET is not known,” the study states. “Each childhood cancer type has its own risk factor profile, but many childhood cancers are thought to derive from embryonic accidents and originate in utero.”

Katy Faust, founder of pro-life organization Them Before Us, reacted to the study in a Twitter post. “It’s as if people aren’t meant to be frozen,” she wrote before citing the study. “Children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer had a roughly 1.6 to 1.7 times higher risk of cancer than children born after fresh embryo transfer and those born without the help of any fertility treatment.”

The frozen-thawed embryo transfer is a method of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that allows lab-manufactured embryos to be frozen until they are needed to be implanted into a woman’s uterus.

Last year, the UK extended its legal length of time for storing frozen embryos from 10 to 55 years. In the U.S., a baby conceived through IVF was born in 2020, 27 years after her artificial conception.

A 2013 study in the National Library of Medicine indicated that one of the main risks of IVF was the potential for various developmental birth defects in children who are conceived in this method. More recently, in 2020, research at the same institution suggested that IVF increases the risk of cancer among children with birth defects.


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