Study: Link Between IVF, Exposure to Estrogen and Breast Cancer

Leslie Carol Botha: What a conundrum. Girls are being placed on hormonal contraceptives earlier and earlier in age – whether or not they are sexually active.  The are already exposed to synthetic estrogen causing hormone imbalance.  They when they cannot conceive on their own they are exposed to more synthetic estrogen through IVF treatments. Not unusual that they would be at higher risk for breast cancer.

IVF ‘may increase breast cancer risk in younger women’

  • Cancer link ‘some cause for concern’ for younger women trying to conceive
  • Link could be because women undergoing IVF exposed to higher levels of circulating estrogen
June 25, 2012
By Claire Bates

Women who go through in vitro fertilization (IVF) early in life have a higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who opt for other fertility treatments, according to an Australian study.

Women who started taking fertility drugs and went through IVF around their 24th birthday had a 56 per cent greater chance of developing breast cancer compared to those in the same age group who went through fertility treatments without IVF.

But there was no increased risk for women who started fertility treatments when they were about 40 years old, regardless of whether they had IVF or not.

The researchers said: ‘For younger women there is some cause for concern, because it appears that they may face an increased risk of breast cancer after IVF treatment.’

The findings werebased on a study of more than 21,000 women and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Study author Louise Stewart from the University of Western Australia said younger women might see an increased risk of breast cancer because they are exposed to higher levels of circulating estrogen during their cycles of IVF treatment.

In the UK 45,264 women had IVF treatment in 2010. A third of women under 35 successfully had a child as a result

However, she added: ‘I don’t think it’s a huge increased risk that you should worry or panic (about).’

The researchers collected information on 21,025 women between the ages of 20 and 40 who went through fertility treatment at the hospitals of Western Australia between 1983 and 2002.

They were able to piece together enough data to follow the women for some 16 years to see if they developed breast cancer.

Roughly 1.7 per cent of the 13,644 women who only used fertility drugs without IVF ended up developing breast cancer by the end of the study.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.