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Rachel Gurevich

New Study Does Not Find Increased Cancer Risk after IVF

By February 21, 2013

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Some previous studies on IVF and other fertility drugs had found a possible connection between treatment and an increased risk for breast and gynecological cancers, while other studies have not. One problem with the earlier studies is they compared infertile women who went through IVF to women without fertility problems. Infertility itself, depending on the cause, can increase the risk of some cancers, which skews the results.

A brand new study conducted in Israel has found that IVF treatment did not significantly increase the risk of cancer. Researchers looked through the medical records of 67,608 women who went through IVF, and 19,795 women who had received consultations for treatment but in the end didn't get the treatment. From the two groups, 1,509 of the women had been diagnosed with cancer. Unlike some earlier studies, infertile women were being compared to infertile women, the only difference being the IVF treatment.

The study found that there was no increase in breast or endometrial cancers in the women who had done IVF. They did find a small increase in ovarian cancers if the women had multiple rounds of treatment, but the increase wasn't high enough to be statistically significant. (It's also possible that the women who went through multiple rounds had more serious fertility issues which was the reason for repeated treatment failure, and that increased the risk just slightly.) The ovarian cancer was also very rare, with just 45 cases out of 87,403 women.

This study is reassuring to those considering IVF or having gone through IVF. Of course, that doesn't mean IVF is risk free. But at this time, cancer does not appear to be one of the risks of treatment.

Have you worried about cancer after IVF? Or worried that your infertility may lead to cancer? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. (And remember, speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have. They may be able to reassure you, or, if you're having worrisome symptoms, run some tests to be sure you're ok.)

More on IVF treatment:

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