Health Fertility Treatment Raises Tumor RisK

Women given drugs during fertility treatment to stimulate their ovaries to produce extra eggs have an increased risk of developing borderline ovarian tumors, said Dutch researchers

A large 15-year study found women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) were twice as likely to develop ovarian malignancies, defined as either cancer or borderline tumors, as similarly sub-fertile women who were not treated. The risk was concentrated in borderline tumors, which have abnormal cells that may become cancerous but usually do not. The danger of invasive ovarian cancer was slightly higher in the IVF treatment group but this was not statistically significant.

Fertility experts said the results showed there was a need for further research, although they stressed the apparent risks were still very low.

“This goes some way to answering the questions that so many IVF patients ask. However, the results should be kept in proportion as the increase shown was from around five in a thousand to seven per thousand women,” said Peter Braude of Kings College London.

Braude, who was not involved in the Dutch study, said the possible risks needed to be balanced against the important objective of IVF in conceiving a child.  Lead researcher Flora van Leeuwen of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam said the findings were significant because the study was the first to include a comparison group of sub-fertile women not undergoing IVF.  That is important because having difficulty conceiving or never having been pregnant are in themselves known risk factors for ovarian tumors.

The study observed 25,000 women, of whom 19,000 received IVF. It found 61 ovarian malignancies among the IVF group, of which 31 were borderline tumors and 30 invasive cancer, a proportion of borderline cases that was unusually high.

Richard Kennedy, general secretary of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IF), noted that other studies over the past decade looking at ovarian stimulation and cancer risk had been generally reassuring.

“The IF remains of the view that the long-term risks are low but calls for continued vigilance through reporting of long-term outcomes with international collaboration,” he said in a statement.
The results of Dutch study were published in the journal Human Reproduction.

New “Win Real A Baby” Game

A controversial IVF lottery will launch in Britain this month giving prospective parents the chance to win thousands of pounds toward expensive fertility treatments in top clinics. The scheme, which the media have dubbed “win a baby,” has already run into trouble on ethical grounds with critics calling it inappropriate and demeaning to human reproduction.

Britain’s Gambling Commission has granted a license to fertility charity, To Hatch, to run the game from July 30. Every month, winners can scoop 25,000 pounds worth of treatments at one of the UK’s top five fertility clinics for the price of a 20 pound ticket bought online. The tickets may eventually be sold in news agents.

The lottery is open to single, gay and elderly players as well as heterosexual couples struggling to start a family. If standard IVF fails, individuals can be offered reproductive surgery, donor eggs and sperm or a surrogate birth, the charity says, though the winner will only be able to choose one treatment.

Winners will be put up in a luxury hotel before being chauffeur-driven to a treatment center. They will also get a mobile phone and a personal assistant to help with queries.

Around one couple in seven suffers from fertility problems in the UK, according to the fertility regulator. Latest figures show 40,000 patients were treated with IVF in 2008 which led to 15,000 babies being born as a result of that treatment.

Do you think this lottery ticket baby game is a good idea or not?

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