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Long-Term Effects of Fertility Drugs

Taking fertility drugs can help you realize your dream of giving birth to your own child, but they are not necessarily risk-free, according to both the American Fertility Association and Baby Center. Whether the drugs actually work, hopeful moms who take prescription fertility aids might experience potential long-term problems, such as ovarian cancer or children with birth defects.

Fertility Risks

Some fertility drugs, such as clomiphene, can actually induce additional fertility complications in some women, according to the American Fertility Association. Clomiphene, commonly marketed as Clomid, forces ovulation. But the drug can cause the lining of the uterus not to be adequately prepared to house an embryo and sometimes also to create an environment within the body which can see sperm as “hostile” and not permit fertilization.

Cancer Risks

Any medication that causes unusual hormone production could potentially cause cancer in the reproductive system, according to the American Fertility Association. Studies haven’t proven beyond a doubt whether this concern is grounded in fact, but clomiphene especially has the potential to cause ovarian cancer. No matter what fertility drug a woman uses, she should only use it short-term to avoid an increased risk of cancer.

Potential Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Several fertility drugs, not just clomiphene, can cause ovarian hyperstimulation and a number of potentially painful long-term effects, according to both the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and Georgia Reproductive Specialists. Ovarian hyperstimulation may go away with pregnancy and can include mild to severe symptoms, ranging from slight weight gain to stopped urination. Treatments range from avoiding sexual intercourse to having excess fluid surgically removed from the abdominal area.

Multiple Births

Multiple births are possible from any fertility drug and can cause further emotional and financial strain on a couple, even if they are happy they finally were able to conceive a child. Up to 40 percent of those women undergoing fertility drug treatments may end up having two or more children once they conceive, according to Baby Center. Even couples who can afford to raise two or more children from a birth may still be at risk of potential heartache, warns Kids Health. Premature births, low birth weight and birth defects are much more common in multiple births.

Birth Defects

Even if you conceive and deliver just one child after taking fertility drugs, your child might suffer from an increased risk of disabilities, such as autism, according to MedlinePlus. A government-sponsored medical study showed that while the risk of birth defects after taking fertility drugs isn’t astonishingly high, moms who take such medications are twice as likely to deliver a baby with an autism spectrum disorder.

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