Side Effects of Fertility Treatment May Increase Ovarian Cancer Risk: Study

In-vitro fertilization may increase the risk of ovarian cancer and tumors in women with fertility problems, according to new research. 

A Dutch study of women who sought in-vitro fertilization in order to bear children, found that their rate of borderline ovarian tumors were twice that of subfertile women who did not seek in-vitro fertilization techniques. The findings, published in the medical journal Human Reproduction, were of some concern to the researchers.

The 15-year study looked at 19,146 women who received in-vitro fertilization in the Netherlands and compared them to 6,006 women who also had trouble conceiving, but did not seek treatment. The overall rate of ovarian malignancies for women who received treatment were two-fold over women who did not.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

The greatest increase in risk was for borderline ovarian tumors, which are cancerous cells that usually do not become ovarian cancer. Actual rates of ovarian cancer did not increase significantly in the short-term, but over the course of years the risk rose considerably for women who had received in-vitro fertilization.

Researchers were unable to determine what about the procedure could cause an increase in ovarian malignancies and previous studies looking at the potential ovarian cancer risk from fertility treatments have resulted in inconsistent results.

Some experts believe that subfertile women in general seem to have a higher risk of ovarian malignancies and cancer. This study was the first to compare subfertile women who received in-vitro fertilization to other women who had trouble conceiving.

“Knowledge about the magnitude of the risks associated with ovarian stimulation is important for women considering starting or continuing (in-vitro fertilization) treatment, as well as their treating physicians,” the researchers concluded. “Clearly, the outcome of weighing a wish to conceive against the potential risks associated with (in-vitro fertilization) may differ among couples considering fertility treatment.”

The researchers said that physicians should explain to women the risks involved and that borderline tumors do not usually become ovarian cancer. They also point out, however, that ovarian cancer has a high fatality rate and recommended that larger studies be conducted.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer
Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer "Representative" (Posted yesterday)

Bard claims two cases selected for the third and fourth bellwether trials are no longer representative of the litigation due to the plaintiffs' worsening injuries and need for additional surgeries due to their failed hernia mesh products.