Breast Cancer Risk No Higher With IVF Treatment

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In vitro fertilization did not appear to increase the risk for breast cancer in women.
In vitro fertilization did not appear to increase the risk for breast cancer in women.

(HealthDay News) — Women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not at increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alexandra van den Belt-Dusebout, PhD, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues followed 19,158 women who underwent IVF between 1983 and 1995. The women averaged 33 years of age when the study began, and underwent an average of between 3 and 4 IVF cycles. By the time the women had reached age 54, Belt-Dusebout's team compared their breast cancer rates to that of 5950 other women of similar age who had not undergone IVF.

The risk for breast cancer among the women who had IVF was similar to the risk of women who did not have IVF, the researchers found. The cumulative rate of breast cancer was 3.0% for the IVF group, compared with 2.9% for the non-IVF group. The study's authors also found that the type of fertility drugs the women received had no effect on their risk for breast cancer. 

Women who had 7 or more IVF cycles had a much lower risk for breast cancer than those who underwent just 1 or 2 rounds of the treatment.

"These findings are consistent with absence of a significant increase in long-term risk of breast cancer among IVF-treated women," the researchers wrote.


  1. van den Belt-Dusebou AW, Spaan M, Lambalk CB, et al. Ovarian Stimulation for In Vitro Fertilization and Long-term Risk of Breast Cancer. JAMA. 2016;316(3):300-312. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9389.
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