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Fertility drugs 'raise leukaemia risk'

Mothers who have undergone certain fertility treatment could be more likely to give birth to babies who go on to develop leukaemia, a study has concluded.

Children born to mothers who have been treated with ovary-stimulating drugs are 2.6 times more likely to develop acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, while there is also 2.3 greater risk associated in developing acute myeloid leukaemia.

Children conceived naturally after their mothers had tried for more than a year to get pregnant had a 50% greater risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, but childhood leukaemia risk was not greater in children conceived via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or artificial insemination.

This French study is the first to demonstrate a specific link between childhood leukaemia and fertility drugs.

Study leader Dr Jeremie Rudant said: "The findings indicate that more research is now needed to investigate more closely the link between specific types of fertility drugs and what role the underlying causes of infertility may play in the potential development of childhood leukaemia."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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