Post # 1
This is my first post – I discovered this forum last year while planning my wedding but have been a long time lurker until now.
A quick rundown:
My husband and I have been married for just over a year and have been actively trying since just after our wedding day. We’ve had all of our bloodwork and bits checked and everything looks fine except for the fact that I have longish cycles (35-40 days) and don’t always ovulate.
My doctor wants to start me on fertility treatment with Clomid. After doing my own research, I’ve come to a bit of an impasse. There have been studies done that link fertility treatments and clomid particularly to ovarian and thyroid cancer.
One of my bridesmaids used clomid to give birth to her little girl about 6 years ago. She was diagnosed with aggressive thyroid cancer last month. Cancer doesn’t run in her family and she is extremely healthy (until now).
I’ve also read that IVF causes problems with the children later on (higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, infertility among the children who are conceived in this manner, cognitive disorders, etc).
I come from a family of medical researchers. My father was a cancer researcher his whole life and I am a lab technician. I suppose because of my background I know better than to just take the word of the doctor and start ingesting Clomid. The fertility industry is a billion dollar industry and I’m concerned that a decade from now we’ll discover that certain fertility drugs are giving the people who take them cancer.
I’ve searched this board but haven’t really seen a thread like this come up. Does anyone have any insight or thoughts? Has anyone developed health issues as a result of taking Clomid or fertility drugs?
Post # 3
@marriedbee_van: I don’t have any advice, but this is one of my concerns as well so I’m interested in what others have to say.
Post # 4
As far as the IVF downstream effects, infertility is often a sign of genetic abnormalities in one of both of the parents causing pregnancy to be difficult to impossible. Is it really that surprising that using science to get around that evolutionary safety net results in genes that cause infertility/other diseases in those children? I don’t think IVF causes those issues. I think those issues arise because those children would not otherwise have had the genetic fitness to be carried to term.
SO MANY people get cancer without a familial or known genetic link. The human genome has been sequenced for so little time that we don’t yet fully understand what all the different gene mutations mean. Also, spontaneous mutations caused by an ungodly amount of environmental factors play a much larger role. Your friend is one data point. There is no way to know if she would have gotten the cancer anyway. Families are very small groups of data points – it’s difficult to trace things through.
As a scientist, I take it all with a grain of salt. Correlation is not causation, and the media does a horrific job at boiling down the truth for the average person. I’ve literally never seen an article about what I work on – drug development in antibiotics and antivirals – stated correctly.
Post # 5
Thanks for the reply. I think my statement around IVF causing abnormalities is around how the process works vs natural conception. With natural conception, the strongest, fastest, best sperm fertilizes the egg. With IVF, I’m not completely sure how the doctors choose the sperm that will fertilize the egg, but I’m thinking that there is no way to accurately determine which sperm is the leader of the pack so to speak.
I suppose then the question is, would one undergo IVF knowing that the chances of having a child with a birth defect was 30-40% higher than a child conceived naturally?
Re: Clomid causing cancer. Totally agree with your statement. My concern revolves around how fertility treatments haven’t been around for a significant amount of time (the first IVF baby has only turned 32).
Remember when smoking used to be good for you and doctors claimed it didn’t cause lung cancer?
I guess the two thoughts going through my head are:
1. I ovulate, just not regularly, should I take Clomid to ensure ovulation and therefore increase my chances of having a child sooner rather than later.
2. If I can’t conceive naturally my body is telling me something and I should look towards the adoption process.
I suppose I’m just trying to weigh the pros and cons if anything!
Post # 6
bump. No info but I’m interested how others have navigated this
Post # 7
Very interesting topic! This is more of a bump as well since my mind goes a million different ways when thinking about all this I wouldn’t even know how to put it into words.
Post # 8
I’m definitely surprised there isn’t more information about this or people talking about it. I’ve searched a few forums out there and this doesn’t seem to be a much discussed topic for sure.
Post # 9
I’m 53 now and menopause is stalkingme. I had/have PCOS and used Clomid to conceive my son who just turned 22. I can’t remember how many cycles it took – I’m thinking less than 6. When I wanted a second child, I started on Clomid for several months but it has such a negative effect on cervical mucous that they had to AI. Clomid didn’t work so we went to Pergonal injections and Lupron injections – followed by an HCG shot. Following the HCG, we’d do the AI.
This went on for many cycles – possibly over a year. Despite the Lupron, I endured ovarian hyperstimulation – producing something like 30 mature follicles – and donated the extras for research following a painful follicle reduction procedure. I gave up TTC and was told to watch my body for signs of ovulation as the drugs could have a residual effect. 4 months later I (naturally) conceived my daughter who is now 16.
I haven’t had any cancer, but I do live in some fear – especially of ovarian cancer. My reproductive endocrinologist who took me through all the infertility assured me at the time that it wasn’t a big concern, but it doesn’t allay my fears. Now that I’m approaching menopause and have lost friends to breast and ovarian cancer, I hope I won’t pay with my life for having my children.
Post # 10
@marriedbee_van: To what study are you referring when you cite a 30-40% increased risk of birth defects? The link that you posted had the content removed. The most recent meta-analysis on this topic that I’ve read about is often misinterpretted. This link provides a great and accurate interpretation of the statistics:
Meta-analysis: Increased Risk for Birth Defects from IVF/ICSI vs Spontaneous Conception
I too am a researcher (in a much different field) and I agree with crayfish that research is so often represented inaccurately by the media. I’m sorry you are struggling and it sounds like you are considering a lot of things to make informed choices.
I’ve taken Clomid for three cycles and am in my first round of IVF treatment. The treatment decisions my husband and I have made have included a huge emotional component in addition to weighing the scientific evidence. This is such a personal decision, but I can say that for us, our infertility was not an indicator that pursuing adoption was the only logical option.
Post # 11
The thought has crossed my mind, several times… And to be 100% honest, and I hate that I am admitting this out loud (er, in typing), especially because I work in the medical field and am a researching type too, and please don’t bash me for this, but I’m taking a head-in-the-sand approach to it…To be completely honest, I think a lot of us that take fertility medications are. I just hope that I won’t need to do TOO many cycles on anything before I get a BFP…I definitely will not do more than 6 rounds of anything due to risks later in life…