Is Infertility Linked to Increased Risk for Early Death?

Dec 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET
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Infertility can be extremely difficult for those who face it, but new research suggests that it may have a wider impact on your long-term health.

According to the study, which was presented at the annual congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility increases your risk for early death by 10 percent compared to women who have had children. The study also found that infertility could increase your risk for death — and even boost your risk for getting breast cancer.

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A review of health records of about 80,000 women indicated that infertility could be a cause of hormonal issues that can increase your risk of dying. Infertility is classified by being unable to conceive for more than one year.

The study included women ranging in age from 55 to 74 whose health — and cause of death — were monitored from 1992 to 2001. Of them, 14.5 percent reported infertility. Researchers say female infertility patients had a higher risk of death from hormone-related disorders such as breast cancer and diabetes.

“We know that general health and reproductive health are really inseparable. So improving your general health definitely helps to improve fertility (although you may still need fertility treatment),” said Dr. Serena H. Chen, a fertility specialist from New Jersey. “In addition, pregnancy itself can lower cancer risks for women — specifically breast, uterine and ovarian cancer risks.”

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Men and women should be taking care of their general health to optimize their chances of having a healthy family. To boost your overall health, see your doctor, take vitamins, lower sugar intake, get enough sleep and make sure to exercise, she added.

By Kristen Fischer

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