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Potential link between Assisted Reproduction Technologies and Leukaemia, new research suggests

The HFEA responds to new research showing potential link between Assisted Reproduction Technologies and leukaemia.

A new study of more than 8 million French children suggests the possibility that children born as a result of assisted reproduction may have a higher risk of Leukaemia than those conceived naturally.

The paper, funded by the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety, used data from the French Mother-Child register between 2010 and 2021 to analyse and compare the odds of being diagnosed with cancer depending on how they were conceived (naturally, fresh embryo transfer, frozen embryo transfer or artificial insemination).

Rachel Cutting, HFEA Director of Compliance and Information, said:

“HFEA data shows that over 390,000 children were born as a result of fertility treatment in the UK between 1991 and 2021. This study is reassuring as the results show that the risk of Leukaemia for children born after assisted reproduction did not differ significantly from that of children conceived naturally.

“Health outcomes in children conceived using Assisted Reproductive Technology is a high priority for the HFEA and we provide high-quality information for patients and professionals using the new and emerging research we monitor. Anyone considering fertility treatment can access this, and other impartial information on fertility treatments and UK licenced clinics at hfea.gov.uk.”

Ends

Notes to editors

  • The latest data the HFEA holds on fresh and frozen egg cycles can be found here.
  • You can view the research paper in full here.

About the HFEA

  • The HFEA is the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and research using human embryos.
  • Set up in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, the HFEA is responsible for licensing, monitoring, and inspecting fertility clinics - and taking enforcement action where necessary - to ensure everyone accessing fertility treatment receives high quality care.
  • The HFEA is an ‘arm’s length body’ of the Department for Health and Social Care, working independently from Government providing free, clear, and impartial information about fertility treatment, clinics and egg, sperm and embryo donation.
  • The HFEA collects and verifies data on all treatments that take place in UK licensed clinics which can support scientific developments and research and service planning and delivery.
  • The HFEA holds records of all fertility treatments and outcomes taking place in licensed clinics since 1991.
  • The HFEA is funded by licence fees, IVF treatment fees and a grant from UK central government. For more information, visit hfea.gov.uk.

Review date: 14 May 2026