Women who use fertility drugs to get pregnant can breathe a sigh of relief. A new study offers the best evidence that the popular medications used to increase the number of eggs a woman produces in a single monthly cycle do not increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
The controversy over the link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer developed about 10 years ago, when small, isolated pockets of women who had difficulty conceiving took fertility drugs and began developing ovarian cancer. Further studies explored the relationship with mixed results: some research showed a link; other studies failing to find one.
"We have always believed the drugs were safe, mainly because the original studies were flawed. They looked at only one population of women, those who were infertile. And we knew long before fertility drugs were being used that infertile women in general have an increased risk of ovarian cancer," says Grifo, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at New York University Medical Center.
It was this giant analysis of massive amounts of information that found that women who took fertility drugs appeared to be at no greater risk for ovarian cancer than other women who had significant problems getting pregnant and did not take the drugs.