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RISK OF CANCER TO CHILDREN BORN TO MOTHERS WHO ARE TREATED WITH FERTILITY DRUGS

There has long been some unfounded speculation that children born to mothers who have used fertility drugs may carry a higher risk of cancer. Although this has never been proven, irresponsible journalism has in the past suggested that there may be an association.

In a reassuring large scale recent Danish study (2003) the medical records of over 51,000 women diagnosed with infertility, beginning in the 1960's, were reviewed – along with those of the children that many of them eventually gave birth to. Research has found that these children's cancer risk was no different to that of the general population of children in Denmark. Over 46,000 children were born to the above- mentioned 51,000 women who had used fertility drugs. The children's medical records were analysed and cross-referenced with the Danish Cancer Registry, with an average length of follow up of 10 years. There was no statistical difference in the cancer risk of children born to mothers using fertility drugs compared to children in the general population.

This study hopefully will provide reassurance to our patients who need fertility drugs to help them conceive. Our patients should know that their children do not carry any higher risk of cancer as a result of fertility drugs used.