Tips and advice about surrogacy.
Are you looking to help create or start a family?

Creative Love is an Egg Donor and Surrogacy Agency that is inspired and delighted to work with Intended Parents, Egg Donors and Surrogate Mothers to help create beautiful families.

Fertility Medication and Cancer: What You Need to Know

Posted on March 21, 2016

As recently as April of this year, Reuters Health reported that a study lead by Dr. Albert Asanta, a reproductive endocrinology clinical fellow at the Mayo Clinic, indicated that there was no increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who received drugs for fertility treatment. When becoming an egg donor you will fall under the medical process of a traditional IV cycle.  Egg donors  take the same stimulating hormones that a women would use during an IVF treatment when using her own eggs. It’s important that you have a full understanding of the medications used during the egg donation process. Don’t worry because once your selected to become an egg donor the clinical nurse at the clinic where you will be cycling will completely educate you on the medications, from side effects to how to give yourself injections. However; take the time while educating yourself about, “what it takes to become an egg donor.” Learn all you can about the medications.

In the past, particularly in studies from around two decades ago, some data regarding fertility-drug safety was conflicting, most likely due to the types of medications being used for IVF at that time. This had lead some people to believe that assisted reproduction is unsafe. To determine if there’s any truth behind these claims, Dr. Asante and his team studied two groups of people. The first was comprised of 1,028 women who currently have or have previously had ovarian cancer. The second group consisted of 872 women who were not afflicted with cancer. What Asante and his team found was that, “After taking into account factors that can influence the risk for ovarian cancer, such as age and use of the birth control pill, there was no difference in cancer rates between the two groups.

This is great news for women or others who are seeking fertility treatments such as IVF or looking to become egg donors. It is important to note, however, that “women who are infertile are already considered to be at higher risk for cancer,” especially if they “never ended up having a baby.” Additionally, Asante cautioned that if fertility drugs are used for more than a year, “to be safe these women might benefit from additional monitoring for tumors.” To take extra precaution Creative Love Egg Donor and Surrogate Agency prefers that our egg donors limit there amount of egg donation cycles to the limit of 6 set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Since 13 out of every 100,000 women (as reported by the National Cancer Institute) develop ovarian cancer, Asante is smart to suggest we play it safe and to issue a broad warning about these types of treatments, even in spite of his finding. But for women who are missing other genetic markers for this type of caner (for example, if they don’t have a family history of the disease), these findings should help assuage some of their possible fears about the long-term consequences of fertility treatment.

Interestingly, a recent study from the National Institute of Health offered conflicting data after observing pairs of sister: “The study found that women who took the drugs and did not get pregnant had a slightly lower risk of developing breast cancer before age 50. Those who took the drugs and reported a pregnancy lasting 10 weeks or more had a slightly increased risk…”

It’s most significant to note, though, that the Institutes findings also indicated that the risk for the group of pregnant women was “little different than the risk of women who never took fertility drugs at all.”

So what does this mean? Like any medical procedure, of course fertility treatments or any other assisted reproduction technique is going to carry some risk. As a patients, our job is to do as much research as possible; to ask as many questions as we need to; to carefully vet doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals; to be fearless in asking for a second or third or fifth opinion; and to advocate for ourselves and others to ensure we are receiving the best care and the most thorough explanations so that we can make informed decisions about our medical treatments.

Return to Blog