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Transiently increased risk of breast cancer after childbirth: implications for fertility treatments and surrogacy


Whereas longstanding dogma has purported that pregnancies protect women from breast cancer, a recent meta-analysis now mandates reconsideration since it reported an actual higher breast cancer risk for more than two decades after childbirth before the relative risk turns negative. Moreover, the risk of breast cancer appears higher for women having their first birth at an older age and with a family history and it is not reduced by breastfeeding. The process of obtaining informed consent for all fertility treatments, therefore, must make patients aware of the facts that every pregnancy, to a small degree, will increase the short-term breast cancer risk. This observation may be even more relevant in cases of surrogacy where women agree to conceive without deriving benefits of offspring from assuming the risk, thus creating a substantially different risk-benefit ratio. Consequently, it appears prudent for professional societies in the field to update recommendations regarding consent information for all fertility treatments but especially for treatments involving surrogacy.

Published in Human Reproduction

Citation Page #: 2020; 35(6):1253-1255.

Journal: Human Reproduction

Author Publication: Zeev B, Gleicher N, Adashi EY.

Publication Link:

Date: 2020


Norbert Gleicher, MD

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.

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