Women who do not become pregnant following fertility therapy are at increased risk for cardiovascular problems, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association journal.
More specifically, the researchers discovered that two-thirds of the women undergoing fertility therapy never became pregnant. These women had a worse long-term cardiovascular outlook, particularly for stroke and heart failure, than the one-third of fertility-treated women who became pregnant.
To reach their conclusions, the investigators examined data from 28,442 women under the age of 50 who received fertility treatment between 1993 and 2011. The average age of those receiving fertility therapy was 35, and 83 percent of the women studied did not have earlier deliveries. Each woman was followed through March of 2015 to assess for problematic cardiovascular effects.
Although the cardiovascular risk was increased 19 percent for women whose fertility therapy failed, the researchers point out the absolute risk was modest. Where fertility therapy failed there were about ten cardiovascular events per 1,000 women after ten years, compared to six events per 1,000 women who delivered a baby after fertility treatment.
"These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that fertility therapy may represent an early indication for future cardiovascular disease because it represents a unique cardiometabolic stress test," wrote the study authors.
While the researchers don’t want to alarm women who utilize fertility therapy, they do suggest women remain mindful of their lifestyle choices, and remind physicians that fertility treatments are in their medical history. “It can be an opportunity for their doctor to review other risk factors for heart disease and discuss ways to protect against future cardiac problems,” said study coauthor Dr. Donald Redelmeier, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Faith Kashefska Lefever