IVF is even more than safe, it seems very good news for women

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A new study reported in the journal Human Reproduction provided welcome news for women suffering from infertility. After examining the health records of more than 24,000 Swedish women from 1982-2006, the study s authors concluded that patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments do not have an increased risk of cancer. In fact, IVF patients actually showed lower cancer rates than control groups of women of similar age and with whom they shared common risk factors (e.g. smoking and prior pregnancy rates). In particular, the IVF patients had relatively fewer cases of breast and cervical cancer. While they did have a somewhat higher risk of suffering ovarian cancer, because this form of cancer is less common than breast and cervical cancer, the overall cancer rate was still lower among the IVF patients.

ACSH president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, This is important because more women are having fertility treatments. For thousands of women, this is very comforting news.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross observes that IVF treatments are onerous. But he wonders if more research ought to be done to see if the hormones given to IVF patients were the cause of the reduced rate of breast and cervical cancers, and if this aspect of the treatments might be beneficial for women who are not seeking to have another child. Regardless, the message is: don t worry about cancer if you re thinking of getting IVF.