Today’s news reports on a new study that suggests that women undergoing IVF increase their risk of ovarian cancer by over one third.
Dr Simon Newman, Director of Research for Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “These numbers sound concerning, but the increase in the actual number of women affected is small. 3 in 2000 women undergoing IVF included in this analysis had developed ovarian cancer ten years after IVF treatment, but based on the expectations calculated by the authors, you would expect 2 in 2000 women of a similar age who have not received IVF to have developed ovarian cancer over the same time frame."
“The study suggested that the small increase in risk may not be due to the IVF treatment directly but potentially due to the underlying biological causes of infertility on the female side. More research needs to be undertaken to understand this better."
“Importantly these findings have only been reported as a conference presentation abstract and we await a full peer-reviewed scientific journal publication which allows for a far greater integration of these data. For women considering IVF, the best level of evidence is from the recent (2013) major peer-reviewed scientific journal article which analysed all the previous studies looking into this. The review concluded that based on the available evidence IVF treatment does not increase the risk of ovarian cancer with the possible exception of rare borderline type tumours. Some smaller earlier studies did suggest a possible increased risk of ovarian cancer but this was most likely due to poor study design.”