No increased risk of cancer from IVF

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Published: December 4, 2020

Women who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) do not have an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and skin cancer. This has been shown in a long-term study into the side effects of fertility treatments.

A controversial publication in the 1990s stated that IVF treatment increased the risk of cancer as much as 20 times. That would have to do with the hormones that the women used and with puncturing the ovaries. The research hit like a bomb. But it soon became clear to doctors that the research was wrong. This has now been confirmed.

A Dutch study shows that women who underwent IVF treatment between 1983 and 2000, did not have an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and skin cancer. This compared to women who were less fertile but ultimately did not undergo IVF. Even after more than 20 years, there is no increased risk.

However, these women have an almost twice as high risk of borderline tumors of the ovary. These are tumors that behave between benign and malignant tumors. Whether this is directly related to IVF treatment is unclear. There is also evidence that women who had IVF have a slightly increased risk of colon cancer, compared to women who did not receive IVF. This requires follow-up research.