Fertility Treatment and the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases in the Offspring

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Background: As 2-3% of all children are born with fertility treatment, the safety of the hormones used as part of this treatment is of great importance. Exposure to high doses of hormones such as gonadotropin or clomiphene in the early stage of fetal development can not be avoided. In studies conducted so far, inconclusive results on the association between these hormones and cardiovascular malformations in the offspring have been found. Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine whether hormones used in fertility treatments increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the offspring. Methods: We conducted a case-control study in which 132 children, having ≥ 3 prescriptions of cardiovascular drugs before their fifth birthday, were compared with 24856 controls. Information about drug use was retrieved from the prescription database IADB.nl. Primary exposure was defined as use of gonadotropin and other ovulation stimulants (ATC: G03), (anti) gonadotropin- releasing hormones (ATC: H01CA and H01CC) or analogues (ATC: L02AE). A subanalysis was limited to cases receiving ≥3 prescriptions for cardiovascular drugs during their first year of life. We applied regression analysis to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Results: The percentage of exposure to hormones used in fertility treatment was 6.8% among cases compared to 3.5% among controls. After adjustments for age of the mother at delivery, gender of the child, and birth year, exposure to hormones is pointing to an increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases (aOR [CI95%] 1.94 [0.98-3.84]). When limiting the analysis to cases below the age of 1 (n=86), the risk was significantly increased with aOR 2.67 (1.28-5.57). Conclusions: This study shows that hormones used in fertility treatments seem to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases notably during the first year of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563
Number of pages1
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue numberSupplement 3
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2016
Event32nd International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management, The Convention Centre Dublin, Dublin, Ireland August 25–28, 2016 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 25-Aug-201628-Aug-2016


  • cardiovascular agent
  • endogenous compound
  • gonadotropin
  • gonadotropin antagonist
  • hormone
  • animal experiment
  • cardiovascular disease
  • childbirth
  • confidence interval
  • controlled study
  • data base
  • exposure
  • female
  • gender
  • gonadotropin release
  • infant
  • infertility therapy
  • male
  • nonhuman
  • normal human
  • odds ratio
  • ovulation
  • population based case control study
  • prescription
  • progeny
  • regression analysis
  • IADB

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