Failed IVF linked to future long term health problems


Failed IVF linked to future long term health problems

A study from Denamark has linked fertility problems with women suffering future long term health issues.

Women who don't have much luck with IVF treatment due to fewer eggs being collected on their first cycle are more likely to suffer long-term health issues. 

The research into fertility problems and the link to illness later in life was presented at the conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.  

The team behind the study examined data on almost 20,000 young women who had gone through one cycle of IVF between 1995 and 2014 in Denmark.

After then looking at other long-term health issues, they found there was a link between unsuccessful IVF and an accelerated ageing process in general.

Women with fewer eggs collected during IVF had a 26 per cent greater risk of all-cause ageing diseases compared to those with a normal ovarian response.

Mette Wulf Christensen from Aarhus University in Denmark, who has been investigating fertility rates and its link to age-related illness says her findings are consistent with previous studies into early menopause. 

This has been shown in several studies to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and mortality. 

'Identifying women at risk of early menopause may thus allow early preventive health initiatives in terms of a healthy lifestyle,' says Christensen.

This is the first time that the yield of eggs in IVF as a measure of ovarian ageing—and thus as a risk predictor of age-related ill-health and mortality—has been investigated in a large-scale cohort study.  

The study was based on the national registries of Denmark in which each individual has their own identifying number.

This allows researchers to cross-link between various registries of health outcomes and treatments over a long period of time.

In this case women below the age of 37 who had a first cycle of IVF in Denmark between 1995 and 2014 were divided into one of two groups according to their response to ovarian stimulation.

One group was for those who produced five or fewer eggs for collection, defined as 'early ovarian ageing' and the other for those who produced at least eight eggs.

The number of eggs harvested was then used as a marker of ovarian reserve. There were 1,234 women in the former group, and 18,614 in the latter.

The team found that incidence of chronic disease int he two groups helped provide a real-life estimate of the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, cancer, and all-cause mortality.   

 This higher risk was statistically significant, and evident in cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, the team found.

The two groups were also cross-checked with the 'early retirement benefit' register, in which the early ovarian ageing group were also more likely to be listed.

The risk of cancer, other age-related diseases and all-cause death was not significantly different between the two groups.

Commenting on the implications of the results, Christensen said the common biological mechanisms behind ovarian and general ageing are 'somewhat obscure'.

However, the data from this study demonstrate that young women with early ovarian ageing have an increased risk of age-related morbidity and possibly mortality.

In fact, a low ovarian reserve may be a useful marker of later health problems. 

Counselling this group of patients at fertility clinics, she added, 'may therefore be important for introducing preventive measures such as lifestyle changes or the use of HRT to reduce the adverse health risks which follow an earlier menopause'.

Article source:  8th July 2020