Women who undergo IVF fertility treatment are no more likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t, even after 20 years, according to Dutch researchers.
A team from the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cancer hospital and Erasmus university’s teaching hospital worked on the research project with all 12 Dutch IVF clinics.
They looked at the records of 25,000 women who underwent fertility treatment between 1980 and 1994 and found no increased risk of breast cancer, even over the longer term.
There was also evidence to suggest women who underwent more than six treatments were less likely to develop breast cancer than those who had one or two, the researchers say.
‘The most plausible explanation… is that both women who receive a higher number of IVF treatments and women with a low egg yield often enter menopause early. Early onset of menopause is known to decrease women’s breast cancer risk,’ the researchers said.
The research does not cover the possible impact of IVF on post-menopausal breast cancer. Nor does it look at the the impact of medical changes in IVF treatment over the past 20 years.
That is now the subject of a follow-up study.
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