Fertility therapies do not cause long term cardiovascular problems

A new study shows that women who take fertility medications like Clomid do not face increased risk of cardiovascular issues or death.

A new study shows that women who take fertility medications like Clomid do not face increased risk of cardiovascular issues or death. The study from clinicians at Women's College Hospital in Toronto was published in the July 2013 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers used cohort data to analyze women who gave birth between July 1, 1993, and March 31, 2010, in Ontario, Canada. They divided the cohort of 1,186,753 women into those who had used fertility medications in the two years before giving birth and those who had not. In line with North American averages, about 1 percent of the women - 6,979 - had used fertility therapy to conceive. After a 17-year follow-up, there was no significant difference between the risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke for women who had used fertility medications compared to those who had not. 

According to lead author of the study and cardiologist Dr. Jacob Udell, there have been fears about fertility treatments in relation to cardiovascular disease; however, the reasons are not necessarily related to the medication, but to the fact that older women are more likely to have both cardiovascular issues and fertility struggles:

"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," he said.

Other findings
During the course of the study, researchers also found many surprising results from women undergoing fertility therapy: They actually were healthier than other females. For example, they had about half the risk of heart attacks, stroke and heart failure than other women and half the risk of subsequent death. Additionally, they had no increased risk of ovarian or breast cancer and fewer mental health issues, including one-sixth the incidence of self-harm and one-third that of depression.

Though the reasons are unknown, researchers presume that women who have undergone fertility therapy are more likely to exhibit healthy behavior after giving birth, likely because it was a struggle to conceive. According to Dr. Don Redelmeier, a co-author of the study, women who used fertility treatments and became successfully pregnant might realize they had the power to change their health outcomes and be more likely to make healthful choices.