Dr. Sutcliffe says that his findings are encouraging. "Not only have we found a possible mechanism for the occurrence of BWS, but we found no significantly higher rate of any disorder in children born after ART apart from BWS. Neither did we find that any particular method of ART was implicated. The problem with BWS could be in the culture media, or it could simply be that the parents are naturally infertile because of a genetic abnormalities.
"We are now planning to do a further study on the childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma, where it is believed that imprinting is involved. What would help us enormously would be in the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the cancer registries were to link their databases to enable us to study this condition", he said.
Although such disorders are unusual, said Dr. Sutcliffe, "to a parent a child with a rare disorder, this is irrelevant. They simply have a sick child, and it is just as important for us to try and find treatments and cures for these conditions as for those that are more common."
Contact: Mary Rice
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology