According to two new studies, women that use assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization or gestational surrogacy may be more likely have children with certain diseases or birth defects. But the studies’ authors admit that the findings have some flaws, and they still support the use of assisted reproduction techniques, including IVF and surrogacy.

The dual studies found higher rates of childhood leukemia and defects in children born through ART methods. The reason may be due in part to the advanced maternal age and other preexisting health conditions. Often, women using ART methods may already fall into either or both of these categories. The results of these two studies were noted as not being sufficient evidence to prevent women from continuing use of ART methods.

How surrogacy WorksOne of the reasons that the findings from the studies have been deemed inconclusive at this time is that the sample of women studied was not random. Women in the sample who used ART methods had already self-selected to use these methods which mean that there was not a control for their preexisting health.

The studies note that overall risk of cancer wasn’t higher in children born through ART methods, but the risk of contracting leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma was significantly higher in ART children, although the studied sample was notably small.

Researchers speculate that this higher rate of disease such as leukemia in ART children may be related to the embryonic development in the intrauterine environment. However, parental age and genetic factors may also be playing a role in the presence of these diseases.

These studies also examined the prevalence of developmental delays in ART children. According to the data, children conceived through ART methods were 27% more likely to get EI referrals compared to children conceived without any fertility issues. Researchers noted that while ART methods do suggest an increased risk, it is not significant enough to prevent the use of ART methods when attempting to conceive. Rather, researchers stated that an individual’s health and lifestyle is an important factor to consider prior to conception.

You can read more about these recent studies on Reuters.