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Fertility therapy not associated with long-term cardiovascular disease
Date:7/31/2013

Women who gave birth following fertility treatment had no long-term increased risk of death or major cardiovascular events compared to women who gave birth without fertility therapy, according to new research by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital.

The findings, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, are the first to show fertility medications, which can cause short-term pregnancy complications, are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

"The speculated association between fertility therapy and subsequent cardiovascular disease is not surprising given that more women are waiting until an older age to have children, when they are at greater risk of developing heart disease," said Dr. Jacob Udell, lead author of the study and cardiologist at Women's College Hospital.

Fertility therapy is used in nearly one percent of all successful pregnancies in North America. But these medications are known to cause short-term complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. These short-term risks, however, do not translate into lasting cardiovascular damage according to the researchers.

In the study, researchers assessed the long-term risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure following fertility therapy among 1.1 million women after delivery over a 17-year follow-up period in Ontario. They found:

  • A five-fold increase in the use of fertility therapy from 1993 to 2010, particularly among older women.
  • The use of fertility therapy was associated with an increase in pregnancy complications including a near 30 per cent increase of diabetes in pregnancy, 16 per cent increase in placental disorders and a 10 per cent increase in pre-eclampsia.
  • Women who delivered following fertility therapy had about half the risk of subsequent death compared to women who did not have fertility th
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Contact: Julie Saccone
julie.saccone@wchospital.ca
416-323-6400 x4054
Women's College Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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