A new study has revealed that men who have had fertility treatment are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
The research published in the British Medical Journal said men needing fertility treatment had a “remarkably high risk” of developing prostate cancer.
The study examined 1.2 million pregnancies in Sweden between 1994 and 2014.
“The main conclusion of this study, comprising virtually all men fathering a child in Sweden during two decades, is that men who achieved fatherhood through assisted reproduction had a remarkably high risk of prostate cancer,” the authors said.
The participants were grouped into three categories. The majority had conceived their children via natural methods, while more than 20,000 had fathered children through IVF and nearly 15, 000 through intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI, where the sperm is injected directly into the egg).
For each group, the number of men who developed prostate cancer was recorded.
Compared to men who did not need fertility treatment, there was a 33 % increase for those who had used IVF for developing prostate cancer and a 54 % increased chance in the ICSI group before the age of 55.
How male infertility could be linked biologically to the risk of prostate cancer is not yet clear, but abnormalities on the Y chromosome-linked to both infertility and prostate cancer, are a possibility, noted the study.
Low sperm count or poor sperm motility might be a possible marker of future health conditions in men. Therefore it has been proposed that male infertility might serve as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for men’s health that both men and their doctors should be better attuned to.
Men needing fertility treatment also tended to develop prostate cancer at an early age, and the study recommended earlier screening than present guidelines for these men.
Medics have, however, urged couples not to be discouraged by the results on the studying, saying more researches need to be conducted.