Does IVF Increase the Risk of Cancer?

by | Mar 1, 2022 | IVF

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process of assisted reproductive technology (ART) used to help couples who are struggling with infertility to conceive a child. IVF involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside of the body, in a laboratory dish. Once the fertilized egg, or embryo, has developed, it is then transferred to the uterus to hopefully establish a successful pregnancy.

IVF has helped millions of couples worldwide to start a family, but there are some concerns about its safety and potential risks. One of the biggest concerns is whether IVF can increase the risk of cancer, either due to parental genetics or the IVF procedure itself.

 

Cancer Risk: Parental Genetics or the IVF Procedure?

There is no clear evidence that IVF increases the risk of cancer in children born through this technology. However, some studies suggest that children conceived through IVF may have a slightly higher risk of certain types of cancer, such as brain tumours, as well as childhood leukaemia and lymphoma.

But it’s important to note that this increased risk is still very small and the absolute risk of cancer in children born through IVF is still very low. Additionally, it is not clear whether this increased risk is due to the IVF procedure itself or whether it is related to underlying infertility that led to the use of IVF in the first place.

There are some genetic disorders that are associated with an increased risk of cancer, such as the BRCA gene mutation. If one or both parents carry this mutation, their children may be at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, regardless of how they were conceived.

 

Can Taking Fertility Drugs Increase My Risk For Cancer?

Fertility drugs are commonly used in conjunction with IVF to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs, increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy. These drugs can include gonadotropins, clomiphene citrate, and aromatase inhibitors, among others.

Some studies have suggested that the use of fertility drugs may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. However, the evidence is not conclusive, and it’s important to note that the absolute risk of developing cancer from fertility drugs is still very low.

Additionally, the potential benefits of fertility treatment in helping couples to conceive a child should be weighed against the potential risks. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of action for your individual situation and may recommend additional screening or monitoring to help reduce your risk of developing cancer.

IVF is a safe and effective treatment option for couples struggling with infertility. While there are some concerns about the potential risks of cancer associated with IVF and fertility drugs, these risks are still very low, and the benefits of treatment may outweigh the risks for many couples. It’s important to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have and to work together to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and circumstances.

 

Does IVF Increase the Risk of Cancer?

There is ongoing research to determine whether in vitro fertilization (IVF) increases the risk of cancer. While some studies suggest that children born through IVF may have a slightly higher risk of certain types of cancer, such as brain tumours, childhood leukaemia, and lymphoma, it’s important to note that the absolute risk of cancer in children born through IVF is still very low. Additionally, it is not clear whether this increased risk is due to the IVF procedure itself or whether it is related to underlying infertility that led to the use of IVF in the first place.

As for the risk of cancer in women who undergo IVF, studies have shown conflicting results. Some studies suggest that women who undergo IVF may have a slightly higher risk of ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancer. However, other studies have found no significant association between IVF and cancer risk. More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between IVF and cancer.

 

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors from IVF and Fertility Drugs:

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that affects the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs. While the exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, there are some risk factors that may increase a woman’s chances of developing this disease.

One of these risk factors is the use of fertility drugs, which are commonly used in conjunction with IVF to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs. Some studies suggest that the use of fertility drugs may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, but the evidence is not conclusive.

Additionally, the process of ovarian stimulation during IVF may also increase the risk of ovarian cancer. This is because the ovaries are stimulated to produce more eggs than they would naturally, which may increase the risk of abnormal cell growth and mutations that can lead to cancer.

 

Breast Cancer Risk from IVF and Fertility Drugs:

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that affects the breast tissue. While there are some risk factors that may increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer, such as genetics and age, there is no clear evidence that IVF or fertility drugs can increase the risk of breast cancer.

However, some studies have suggested that women who undergo fertility treatment may have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer, but the evidence is not conclusive. Additionally, some fertility drugs, such as clomiphene citrate, have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have used them to treat infertility.

It’s important to note that the absolute risk of breast cancer from IVF and fertility drugs is still very low, and the potential benefits of fertility treatment in helping couples to conceive a child should be weighed against the potential risks.

Also Read: What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Endometrial Cancer Risk from IVF and Fertility Drugs:

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus, or womb. Some risk factors that may increase a woman’s chances of developing endometrial cancer include obesity, diabetes, and hormone imbalances.

While there is no clear evidence that IVF or fertility drugs increase the risk of endometrial cancer, some studies have suggested that women who undergo fertility treatment may have a slightly higher risk of developing this disease. This may be due to the use of fertility drugs, which can cause changes in hormone levels that may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

It’s important to note that the absolute risk of endometrial cancer from IVF and fertility drugs is still very low, and the potential benefits of fertility treatment in helping couples to conceive a child should be weighed against the potential risks. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of action for your individual situation and may recommend additional screening or monitoring to help reduce your risk of developing cancer.

 

Does Egg Retrieval Cause Cancer?

Egg retrieval is a common part of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, in which eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries using a small needle. While there is no evidence to suggest that egg retrieval causes cancer, there are some potential risks associated with the procedure.

One potential risk is the risk of infection, which can occur if bacteria enter the uterus during the egg retrieval process. Additionally, some studies have suggested that women who undergo multiple rounds of IVF may have a slightly higher risk of certain types of common cancer, such as ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, it’s important to note that the absolute risk of developing these cancers from IVF is still very low, and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between IVF and cancer.

 

Can Multiple Rounds of IVF Cause Cancer?

While there is no clear evidence to suggest that IVF itself causes cancer, some studies have suggested that women who undergo multiple rounds of IVF may have a slightly higher risk of certain types of common cancer, such as ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, the absolute risk of developing these cancers from IVF is still very low, and it’s important to note that infertility itself may also be a risk factor for certain types of cancer.

It’s important to speak with a fertility specialist about the potential risks and benefits of multiple rounds of IVF, as well as other fertility treatment options. Additionally, it’s important to maintain good overall health by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These lifestyle factors can also help reduce your risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases.

Also Read: Is IVF Safe After Covid/Corona?

Conclusion:

While there are some concerns about the potential risks of cancer associated with IVF and fertility drugs, the absolute risk of cancer is still very low. It’s important to note that the benefits of IVF and fertility treatment in helping couples to conceive a child often outweigh the potential risks.

If you are considering IVF or fertility treatment, it’s important to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have. Your doctor can help you understand the potential risks and benefits of treatment and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and circumstances.

Additionally, it’s important to maintain good overall health by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These lifestyle factors can also help reduce your risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases.

 

F.A.Q

Q: Can cancer patients do IVF?

A: It depends on the type of cancer and the treatment that the patient has received. Cancer patients who have completed their treatment and are in remission may be able to undergo IVF, but it’s important to discuss this with their oncologist and fertility specialist. Some types of cancer and cancer treatments can affect fertility, so patients may need to use donor eggs, sperm, or embryos to conceive. Additionally, some cancer treatments can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, so patients should be closely monitored during and after pregnancy.

Q: What cancer is linked to IVF?

A: Some studies suggest that women who undergo IVF may have a slightly higher risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, the absolute risk of developing these cancers from IVF is still very low, and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between IVF and cancer.

Q: What is IVF chemotherapy?

A: IVF and chemotherapy are two separate medical treatments. IVF is a fertility treatment that involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside of the body and then transferring the embryo to the uterus to establish a pregnancy. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing and spreading.

Q: Who is not suitable for IVF?

A: IVF may not be suitable for everyone. Some reasons why someone may not be a good candidate for IVF include:

  • Severe male factor infertility
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Severe endometriosis
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Low ovarian reserve
  • Certain medical conditions that make a pregnancy high-risk

Q: Who should not go for IVF?

A: IVF may not be a good option for everyone, including those who:

  • Have a history of ovarian, breast, or endometrial cancer
  • Have certain medical conditions that make a pregnancy high-risk
  • Are unable to afford the cost of IVF treatment
  • Are unable or unwilling to undergo the physical and emotional stress of IVF
  • Have religious or ethical objections to the use of IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies

Q: What is the biggest problem in IVF?

A: The biggest problem with IVF is that it may not always result in a successful pregnancy. IVF success rates vary depending on a number of factors, including age, infertility diagnosis, and the number of embryos transferred. Additionally, IVF can be a physically and emotionally stressful process, and there are some potential risks associated with the procedure.

Q: Why is IVF high-risk?

A: IVF can be considered a high-risk procedure because it involves a number of medical interventions, including hormone injections, ultrasound monitoring, and the retrieval and transfer of eggs and embryos. These interventions can increase the risk of complications such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), multiple pregnancies, and ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, IVF is an expensive and emotionally stressful process that may not always result in a successful pregnancy.

Q: What are two problems with IVF?

A: Two potential problems with IVF include:

  1. Multiple pregnancies: IVF can increase the likelihood of multiple pregnancies, which can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  2. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): The use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries during IVF can increase the risk of OHSS, a condition in which the ovaries become swollen and painful.

Q: Is IVF treatment safe?

A: IVF is generally considered a safe procedure when performed by a trained and experienced fertility specialist. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with IVF. These may include multiple pregnancies, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), and ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, some studies suggest that women who undergo IVF may have a slightly higher risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, the absolute risk of developing these cancers from IVF is still very low, and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between IVF and cancer.

Q: What is the side effect of IVF?

A: Some common side effects of IVF include:

  • Mild cramping and bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Spotting or light bleeding

In rare cases, more serious side effects such as OHSS and ectopic pregnancy may occur. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and side effects of IVF with a fertility specialist.

Q: Can you have IVF after chemotherapy?

A: It may be possible for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy to undergo IVF, but this will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the ivf patient’s overall health. Some types of chemotherapy can affect fertility, so patients may need to use donor eggs, sperm, or embryos to conceive. Additionally, some cancer treatments can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, so patients should be closely monitored during and after pregnancy.

Q: Can a cancer patient get pregnant?

A: Cancer patients may be able to get pregnant after completing their cancer treatment and being in remission, but this will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer and the treatment received. Some cancer treatments can affect fertility, so patients may need to use donor eggs, sperm, or embryos to conceive. Additionally, some cancer treatments can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, so patients should be closely monitored during and after pregnancy.

Q: Is there fertility support for cancer survivors?

A: Yes, there are fertility support services available for cancer survivors who are interested in preserving their fertility or undergoing fertility treatment. These services may include fertility preservation, such as egg or sperm freezing, as well as access to fertility specialists and counsellors who can provide emotional support and guidance throughout the fertility journey.

Q: Can cancer patients have eggs?

A: Cancer patients may be able to have their eggs harvested and frozen for future use, but this will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the patient’s overall health. Some types of cancer and cancer treatments can affect fertility, so patients should discuss their options for fertility preservation with their oncologist and a fertility specialist. Additionally, there may be some logistical and financial barriers to accessing fertility preservation services for cancer patients.

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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