Health concerns regarding infertlity drugs - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 07-22-2010, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi - am I the only person to have concerns about the possible side effects of using infertility drugs on the health of the baby and/or cancer scares for want to be Moms?

I feel as though my desire to have my own children is heavily out weighed by this sense that I'm risking so much more. Am I alone in thinking this? I've read so many posts on this forum of courageous women battling through IVF, perhaps I'm not there yet in taking that leap into the unknown.

How does anyone reach that decision?
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#2 of 11 Old 07-22-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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Everyone has their own journeys & has to weigh things at different points. Do the drugs I'm taking worry me - yep. But we decided the risk was worth it as the alternative in our situation was no children of our own.

I'm grateful I had the option as I'm not sure how I ever would have gotten over the bitterness & intense sadness that clouded every day in the couple years before I conceived ds. It honestly overtook my entire life & still hurts to think about.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#3 of 11 Old 07-22-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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Everyone has their own journeys & has to weigh things at different points. Do the drugs I'm taking worry me - yep. But we decided the risk was worth it as the alternative in our situation was no children of our own.

I'm grateful I had the option as I'm not sure how I ever would have gotten over the bitterness & intense sadness that clouded every day in the couple years before I conceived ds. It honestly overtook my entire life & still hurts to think about.
completely agree. in the beginning of our infertility journey, DH & I decided that we didn't want to go the route of invasive methods like injections or in vetro, etc., for various reasons. As time goes on and you find yourself still childless and your doctor tells you that x is your only shot, you kind of look at things differently.

and besides, i think that our society as a whole should be more concerned with mainstream health & beauty products laden with parabens and other synthetic chemicals, pesticides, contamination from plastics, etc. which are used on a far more regular basis and IMHO much more dangerous! <off soapbox>

Mama to an IVF baby girl, Lennon Emelia, born 6/3/08! and the Junebug kitty... Missing the Jeddy and Ashes kitties
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#4 of 11 Old 07-23-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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I agree that it's a very personal decision.

I wasn't willing to do the heavy duty IF drugs, in part because of health concerns about them. We moved on to adoption pretty quickly and easily. Having biological children was never important to either of us, we just wanted kids.
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#5 of 11 Old 07-23-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kim Peach View Post
Hi - am I the only person to have concerns about the possible side effects of using infertility drugs on the health of the baby and/or cancer scares for want to be Moms?

I feel as though my desire to have my own children is heavily out weighed by this sense that I'm risking so much more. Am I alone in thinking this? I've read so many posts on this forum of courageous women battling through IVF, perhaps I'm not there yet in taking that leap into the unknown.

How does anyone reach that decision?
I am not sure that most fertility drugs would be able to really affect the resulting baby all that much. For the most part, they are hormonal meds...The trigger shot is just HcG, which is the pregnancy hormone anyway, and is exactly what your body produces to induce ovulation anyway. PIO shots are progesterone, which your body produces after conception anyway. And, until implantation there is no real transfer of substances between mother and embryo. I could see how something like Clomid might affect the individual cell/egg released, but really, I would think on that small of a level, if there was some way for the meds to damage the individual cell, the cell likely wouldn't survive to conception anyway, I wouldn't think.

Ultimately, I was not worried at all when I did the IVF that resulted in DD2.

ETA: Different REs and different protocols use different meds and I am not up on all of them at all. What an individual person might use for their meds, is probably going to be different from someone else, based on what it is that calls for the treatments in the first place, as well as their RE and also what might be affordable/paid for by INS.
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#6 of 11 Old 07-23-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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It's a good ques, Kim. I agree w. HappySmiley that the injectable drugs are not likely to affect the developing fetus, however if I'd had a strong history of breast cancer in my family, I would probably not have done IVF or struggled much more w. the decision.

Proud Mama to Liam Greenleaf 5/31/10
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#7 of 11 Old 07-24-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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1. Here is the link to the research done on IVF and cancer, you will see that there is nothing to worry about.
http://www.med.monash.edu.au/ob-gyn/ivf.html


2. The baby has a higher risk for defects and autism. I understand that it is less from the meds themselves and more from the lack of natural selection - poor quality embryos ultimately develop. The other opinion is that the first stages of embryo development it the dish harm healthy development some how. Still, it is all statistics, having a higher risk does not mean it will happen. My DD fits into their statistics since she was an IVF baby and we had a high risk pg, c-section and low birth weight. Other than weight, she is fine.

Go with your heart.
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#8 of 11 Old 07-26-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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2. The baby has a higher risk for defects and autism. I understand that it is less from the meds themselves and more from the lack of natural selection - poor quality embryos ultimately develop. The other opinion is that the first stages of embryo development it the dish harm healthy development some how. Still, it is all statistics, having a higher risk does not mean it will happen. My DD fits into their statistics since she was an IVF baby and we had a high risk pg, c-section and low birth weight. Other than weight, she is fine.

Go with your heart.
so true. with ARTs we are doing everything we can to sustain a pregnancy (i.e. PIO shots, assisted hatching, ICSI, etc.) that might not otherwise happen naturally so the chances of defects are higher. I think I mentioned this in another thread but my DD is absolutely perfect and yet she came from a highly fragmented embryo, and was one of 18 embryos and the others all stopped developing in the lab. I was on prometrium pills after discontinuing the PIO shots because my p4 dropped dramatically and I surely would have lost the pregnancy had my OB not been on the ball about having my p4 levels checked (on my urging of course). Were it not for the extra meds my daughter would not be here today, I'm sure of it. In those cases, meds are our friends!

Mama to an IVF baby girl, Lennon Emelia, born 6/3/08! and the Junebug kitty... Missing the Jeddy and Ashes kitties
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#9 of 11 Old 07-26-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I work at a fertility clinic and do the stats for outcomes and there is no evidence of increased incidence of anything bad that cannot be explained by other things. For examples, many older women are having IVF babies so the rates of genetic issues such as Down's syndrome will be higher as well as some complications of pregnancy.

As for cancer, there is only very minimal evidence of a possible correlation between multiple high dosage IVF cycles and certain cancers. One hypothesis is that women with certain fertility problems might be at higher risk of cancer regardless of treatments.

I would encourage you to get a protocol form a doctor and take the time to look up each medication and understand what is being done to your body before making a decision. I definiteky think that, in most cases, the benefits far outweight the risks, especially if you factor in other things such as the reduced risk of breast cancer from breastfeeding, for example.

Single mom to E (2004) and D (2010)
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#10 of 11 Old 07-26-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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Some of the meds concerned me. At the time I used Lupron the thinking was that more than a few months of use could increase cancer risk--I am not sure if that is true still or not. But I was glad I didn't use it very long.

Most of the meds are hormones and used for such short periods, I don't think the risk is that high. But a few did worry me and I am knocking on wood.

V

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#11 of 11 Old 07-27-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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Here is another study regarding cancer and ivf:

Quote:
THE RISK OF CANCER IN IVF PATIENTS TREATED AT AGE 40 AND ABOVE
Tsafrir A., Lerner-Geva L., Eldar-Geva T., Barchana M. , Margalioth EJ., Simon A., Laufer N.
IVF Unit, Shaare-Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem. IVF Unit, Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Woman and Children's Health Research Unit, Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Tel Hashomer, Israel National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health, and School of Public Health, Haifa University.
Introduction: Data regarding a possible association between fertility reatments and an increased risk for malignancy is conflicting. Current lnowledge is based mainly on the study of entire populations undergoing fertility treatments. These are usually women in their third and fourth decade of life. Women treated at an older age may be at higher risk because of longer
years of infertility and possibly exposure to numerous fertility treatments
Aim: To evaluate the risk of cancer in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) patients reated at age 40 and above.
Materials: The study population included all IVF patients aged 40 and older at two university affiliated IVF units in Jerusalem, Israel, during the period 1994-2004. The computerized data base was cross-linked with the Israel National Cancer Registry updated to 31.12.2006. The Standardized Incidence Ratios (SIR) and 95% confidence intervals were computed by comparing the observed cases to the expected cancer cases in the general Israeli population adjusted for gender and age. Patients' files were also reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of cancer and acquire further information
Results: 582 patients were included in the cohort. Mean age at first IVF cycle in the unit was 42±1.9. The mean follow up period was 7.5±2.5 years (range 2-11 years). 420 women (72% of all) were followed for 5 years and more. A total of 19 cases of cancer were diagnosed in the cohort as compared to 19.7 expected cases in the age-matched general Israeli population (standardized incidence ratios (SIR) = 0.96; 95% CI 0.58-1.51). Among those, 9 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, as compared to 9.37 expected (SIR=0.96; 95%CI 0.44-1.82). Three women had astrointestinal tumors, Two had hematological malignancies, one had uterine cancer and 3 had grade III cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

[B]Conclusions: In our cohort, IVF treatment of older women was not associated with an excess risk of cancer as compared with the general population[/B
http://www.ayala.org.il/_Uploads/164abstracts2008.pdf
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