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No evidence for link between fertility drugs and heart disease

Since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, there have been concerns about the health risks associated with the use of fertility drugs, including heart disease. However, the results of a recent study conducted by Dr. Jacob Udell and researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies suggest that there is no link between fertility drugs and increased long-term risk of heart disease.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study looked at data for over a million women through an Ontario health-records database. Health outcomes (e.g., heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, blood clots) of women who used fertility drugs were compared with women who conceived and gave birth without fertility medication. The study followed the women for an average of 10 years after giving birth.

According to lead researcher Udell, the findings were the opposite of what they were expecting – there was no evidence that using fertility drugs increased the risk of heart disease. Surprisingly, the women who used fertility drugs actually had lower risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure, than women who had not taken fertility drugs. Women who had taken fertility drugs also had a lower risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (two types of fatal blood clots). The researchers speculated that these differences are likely unrelated to having taken fertility medications. Rather, women undergoing fertility treatments likely engage in healthier lifestyle habits in their efforts to achieve a pregnancy.

Although the research offers reassurance that fertility medications don’t appear to be associated with a higher long-term risk of heart disease, Udell cautions that women who have used fertility drugs and have experienced high blood pressure or other complications, should continue to be monitored for cardiovascular disease.

Read more about fertility medications here.

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