Failed IVF Associated With Increased Risk of Later Cardiac Disease


Women who undergo fertility therapy, but do not get pregnant, have a higher risk of developing long-term cardiovascular disease, compared with women who become pregnant, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


“We found that two-thirds of women never became pregnant after being managed for fertility treatment and these women also had worse long-term cardiovascular risk, specifically higher risks of stroke and heart failure, compared with the remaining third of women who did become pregnant and delivered a baby,” says Dr Jacob Udell, lead author of the study.


There is a lack of data on the long-term health impacts of fertility therapy, especially in women who do not conceive.


The study looked at data on 28,442 women under the age of 50 who underwent fertility therapy in Ontario between 1993 and 2011. The women were followed until 2015 for adverse cardiovascular effects. About one-third (9,349) gave birth within 1 year of final treatment, while the remaining two-thirds did not give birth.


Fertility therapy failure was associated with a 19 per cent increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, in particular, heart failure. However, the researchers stress the absolute risk was modest at about 10 events per 1,000 women after 10 years for those where fertility therapy failed versus 6 events per 1,000 women for those who became pregnant and delivered a child after fertility therapy.


The average age of the women who received fertility therapy was 35 years; 23,575 (83 per cent) had no prior deliveries, and the median number of fertility cycles was 3.


“These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that fertility therapy may represent an early indication for future cardiovascular disease because it represents a unique cardiometabolic stress test,” write the authors.


However, they suggest the results should be interpreted with caution.

Science Daily. March 13. Canadian Medical Association Journal. March 13.

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