Cancer and fertility treatment

Among scientists and fertility patients there has been an increased interest in whether women who have received in vitro fertility treatment (IVF treatment) are at greater risk in the long run of developing ovarian cancer.

The suspicion is not completely unfounded, because a slightly higher risk of ovarian and breast cancer has been found in other situations where the body's hormone value is increasing, for example after a pregnancy, or during longer periods of time where the woman has not had her period.

It is therefore not impossible that women who have received IVF treatment might be predisposed for a long-term risk of especially ovarian cancer, because of the high hormone values in the blood which the treatment periodically gives. A few earlier studies have indicated that there might be such a risk.

If you go through the scientific literature within the area of the last couple of years and look at their results, you can say the following with great certainty:

Generally, involuntarily infertile women have a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer. Compared to this group, there is no increased risk among women who receive medication in connection with their IVF treatment, seen in relation to those women who have never received treatment.

In other words

The medical treatment of involuntary infertility does not increase women's risk of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, we have pretty conclusive evidence that women who receive treatment for involuntary infertility have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who never receive treatment.

The data on breast cancer is not equally conclusive. The data at hand does not indicate that women who receive IVF treatment have a greater risk of breast cancer than women who do not receive treatment. A few studies even indicate that if you have received clomifen citrate treatment, you have a smaller risk than women who have not received treatment.


Based on a fair mount of material that has been controlled and thoroughly documented, we can say that women who are infertile have a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who are not infertile. However, this risk is not so great that one ought to recommend women who are involuntarily infertile to attend annual controls or other drastic methods in order to avoid ovarian cancer.

It takes an incredibly large amount of patient material in order to even prove that there is an increased risk. It can also be said for certain that the medical products used today at IVF treatment do not in themselves increase the risk of ovarian or breast cancer. It is also safe to say that if there is an increased risk of involuntarily infertile women to develope ovarian cancer, then the level of risk will decrease to the same level as other women, if the women should become pregnant.


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