IVF and cancer risk(6 Posts)
Considering doing IVF as we have been TTC number 3 for over a year and nothing. I am 40 and DH is 46 so feel like we are running out of time. We've done 5 IUIs, 3 natural, and 2 medicated (just got BFN) so now considering next steps. Trying to research cancer risk of doing IVF - found lots of article saying different things but, the overall conclusion seem to be that there is an increased risk, in the case of ovarian cancer, that your risk doubles which seems like a lot. Did anyone else look at this and, if so, how did you get comfortable?
I can answer from the point of view of a cancer patient - it was absolutely not an issue for me to have fertility preservation treatment (so, all the IVF drugs, egg collection, embryo storage) before I had chemotherapy for breast cancer. The risks were never discussed with me, so I assume they were negligent. This was five years ago.
The best thing to do if you're worrying, is ask your clinic.
I will also add that 'doubling' of risk doesn't matter if the original risk is tiny. I don't have the data, but if you're talking a 0.2% risk, then doubling it sounds a lot, but it would still be only 0.4%, which is nothing. You would need the actual figures before you can know whether 'doubling' is actually a big increase most likely, it isn't.
Ignorance is bliss for me. Neither of my clinics even mentioned a risk of cancer and I was not inclined to research myself. I needed to do IVF to have any chance of my own family and any potential increased risk becomes less important.
I think for the risk to really matter you have to have a lot of other factors too in addition to being over 40 - overweight/obesity, early puberty, genetic predisposition to breast/bowel/ovarian cancer. Also remember that Ovarian Cancer can have similar symptoms to the side effects of IVF drugs when it's fairly advanced so it could be that the 'risk' is actually people with existing OC being diagnosed during IVF. As long as you are checked over regularly you should be fine.
thanks all, very helpful. I read the NICE guidelines which I found a bit worrying as it said that an increased risk of borderline ovarian tumours cannot be excluded, which is consistent with what I have read. I do think doubling a risk is significant, even if the risk is low. One of my best friends died of ovarian cancer and there were no symptoms until it was too late. If I didn't have any children then I might think it would be a risk worth taking but just not sure. My fertility clinic couldn't really say much other than it's not a significant risk otherwise they'd have to carry a health warning, which is a good point. Wondering if mild stimulation IVF is less risky but from what I am reading it doesn't make any difference.
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