London: Children born to mothers who took fertility drugs to get pregnant are at increased risk of developing leukaemia, French scientists have revealed.They found that children were 2.6 times more likely to become ill with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood leukaemia, if their mothers had been treated with ovary-stimulating drugs.And the risk of suffering the rarer form of the disease, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), increased by 2.3 times.Children conceived naturally after their mothers waited more than a year to get pregnant had a 50 per cent greater-than-normal likelihood of developing ALL.But no heightened risk of childhood leukaemia was associated either with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or artificial insemination, the Daily Mail reported.The scientists cannot yet fully explain their findings, the first to show a specific link between use of fertility drugs and childhood leukaemia.“It has always been hypothesised 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 pre-natal (pre-birth) origin,” said study leader Dr Jeremie Rudant, from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at the French research institute INSERM in Villejuif, Paris.“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,” Dr Rudant noted.
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