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Do Fertility Drugs Cause Cancer?

Updated: Jul 15, 2018

During IVF treatment medications are given to stimulate the reproductive systems. As a result, women are exposed to high levels of estrogen, which the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences lists as a known carcinogen. But based on current research, scientists say there’s little cause for concern.

As for ovarian cancer infertility, itself is associated with a higher risk. When compared to the general population infertile women have a higher incidence of ovarian cancer, but not one that is caused by IVF. The drugs have recently been linked to a very small increased risk for non-invasive ovarian tumours. But experts don’t believe the dangers are significant enough to warrant extra screenings for women who have taken fertility drugs in the past.

Fertility medications don’t raise risk of breast cancer, though they may accelerate the growth of a pre-existing breast cancer. Hence before starting it is mandatory to check for breast diseases.

Fertility treatments raise hormone levels for a matter of days which is far less time than the heightened hormonal exposure in nine months of pregnancy. Hence the risks for cancer development is not a concern.


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