Soroka study: IVF treatment does not increase long-term cardiovascular risk for women

Whether fertility treatments can cause long-term harm to the mothers’ health – from increased risk of cancer to heart attacks and stroke -- is under dispute in the medial literature.

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March 1, 2016 10:40
1 minute read.
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Newborn baby [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INIMAGE)

 
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Undergoing fertility treatments does not raise women’s long-term risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new Soroka University Medical Center/Ben-Gurion University study.

Many Israeli women undergo difficult hormonal and in-vitro fertilization treatments to realize their dream of becoming mothers.

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Every year, tens of thousands of IVF cycles are carried out in general hospitals around the country. But whether fertility treatments can cause long-term harm to the mothers’ health – from increased risk of cancer to heart attacks and stroke – is under dispute in medical literature.

The Beersheba researchers, led by Prof. Eyal Sheiner (head of obstetrics/gynecology B at Soroka) and Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi (of Ben-Gurion University’s Health Sciences Faculty), showed clearly that fertility treatments do not endanger women’s hearts and blood vessels in the long term.

The results of their study were recently presented at an important obstetrics/ gynecological conference in Atlanta.

The team of researchers followed for 10 years the cases of 100,000 women who gave birth at Soroka between 1988 and 2013 – focusing on 4,000 of them who underwent IVF or received drugs that stimulated the production of eggs by their ovaries.

They found there were no significant statistical risks in cardiovascular disease in women who underwent fertility treatment compared to women who did not. The long-term rate of heart disease among the IVF group was three percent compared to 3.3 percent among the control group.

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Sheiner pointed out that in view of the growing number of women undergoing fertility treatment, it was important to know if they are at high risk for cardiovascular diseases.

“Now these women can relax at least and not worry about any cardiovascular implications of their treatment,” he said. “It’s important to note that it’s difficult to publish negative results (which show there is no difference between the two groups) in medical literature.

But at the same time, because of the important disagreement on risks to women undergoing fertility treatment, our study was chosen to be presented at the central conference on obstetrics/gynecology and to be accepted for publication in a leading medical journal.”

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