Can Fertility Drugs Cause Cancer?
Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
The topic of pregnancy comes with countless concerns among prospective parents.
Of course, people worry if they’ll be good enough parents for their children and if they can send them to the best schools, and generally give them a great start in life.
But for many, the worry of not getting pregnant in the first place can be overwhelming, even for those who haven’t always been set on having children.
There are many remedies for those that have a more difficult time conceiving with their partner, and some have higher success rates than others.
However, some of these remedies have given parents pause after considering both the possible side effects and the reported risks of illnesses such as cancer from certain powerful drugs.
While this alleged risk still floats around the internet, we wanted to discuss if it is indeed possible for fertility drugs to cause cancer and also offer you some information about fertility and the methods people employ to combat it.
- What Does Fertility Mean?
- Why Do People Use Fertility Treatments?
- How Do People Become Infertile?
- What Types Of Medical Treatments Are Available?
- Is There A Cancer Risk With Fertility Drugs?
- Alternative Options To Improve Fertility
What Does Fertility Mean?
Simply put, fertility is your ability, whether male or female, to conceive a child. While, in general, most people are fertile enough to have kids, it’s said that just over 10% of couples struggle with this due to one or both having complications with infertility.
Of course, not every couple wants to have kids, but having that option forcefully removed from you by nature can still be upsetting.
There are a number of symptoms that people can experience when finding out they’re infertile, even if they haven’t been trying to conceive a child.
For women, irregular periods as well as an abnormal amount of bleeding, whether extremely light or heavy, and worse than usual cramping can all be signs of infertility or a condition that causes infertility.
For men, infertility can be a bit more difficult to notice, but there are some symptoms to watch out for. One of the main ways in which you can tell you’re struggling with infertility will be erectile dysfunction or a significantly reduced libido or sexual desire.
Why Do People Use Fertility Treatments?
For the most part, the people that use fertility treatments are those that have been diagnosed with a condition that causes infertility or a reduced ability to have children.
Infertility, as a definition, means that you cannot have children through normal means at all.
Although, there are some conditions that merely reduce the likelihood of conception, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in women and surgery scarring in the reproductive system.
There are even certain medications for other diseases that can reduce fertility, too, even aspirin or anti-inflammatories pose a risk.
Whatever your reasons, there are ways in which you can improve your chances of having children, and also ways around the whole procedure altogether.
How Do People Become Infertile?
The causes of male infertility, for example, can be drastically different from person to person.
This can range from blockages in the tubes that sperm travel through to genetic problems such as Klinefelter or Down syndrome.
There can also be the issue of just having poor quality semen and semen production. Research states that there are ways to improve the quality of sperm, such as having a better diet containing helpful and relevant vitamins and minerals.
What Types Of Medical Treatments Are Available?
There are a number of tried and tested medical treatments out there, and not all of them include taking medication. A popular option for couples looking to get pregnant is Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).
This umbrella term covers a few different treatments, which all involve physical assistance with the transfer of zygotes (fertilized egg cells) or gametes (sperm and unfertilized eggs) throughout the reproductive system.
➡️READ: Natural treatments for male infertility
In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is where conception happens in a laboratory. The gametes are taken from both parents and are forcibly combined.
The resulting zygote is there transferred back into the mother or surrogate in the case of the mother not being able to carry their child for whatever reason.
As well as these treatments, there are also the aforementioned fertility drugs; artificial insemination, if there is a problem with the sexual intercourse stage such as erectile dysfunction; surrogacy using egg or sperm donors; and also surgical procedures.
Is There A Cancer Risk With Fertility Drugs?
Luckily, the short answer here is: no.
There have been a number of tests conducted after concerns that drugs intended to help improve fertility were increasing the risk and even causing cancer, and the findings from these tests show that there is no reason to believe there is a link here.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there is full certainty that these drugs don’t cause cancer as, in theory, strong drugs like this can have a damaging effect on the body, as well as improving and healing certain biological functions.
Drugs like clomiphene and follicle-stimulating hormone are two of the main drugs used to combat infertility.
Still, there is no definitive link between these medications and cancers, but neither is there a guarantee that the link hasn’t been overlooked due to identified methodological issues within the research.
Alternative Options To Improve Fertility
If you are concerned about there being no definitive conclusion to the cancer risk of fertility drugs, there are other means to deal with this issue.
It’s believed by some that there are ways in which we can improve our ability to conceive children by enhancing our fertility using natural methods.
While we highly recommend discussing any steps you plan to take with your doctor first, there are ways in which you could bolster your chances of pregnancy.
Research shows that poor nutrition can impact fertility greatly, as proper hormonal function is essential in the creation of reproductive cells.
If your fertility has been impacted by this, in theory, you should be able to improve your hormone production.
There are some supplements that you can take, such as the ones offered by us at Fertiligy, which include clinically proven, natural nutrients that can help to improve your chances of conception by increasing male fertility specifically.