Men Conceived via Fertility Treatments May Develop Prostate CancerHealthy Living

September 26, 2019 06:53
Men Conceived via Fertility Treatments May Develop Prostate Cancer

(Image source from: Daily Mail)

Men with fertility problems conceived via assisted reproduction techniques are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the middle age, the research found.

A major study published by The BMJ of more than 1 million births found that prostate cancer and male infertility may serve as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for male health problems and research team thinks both common disorders could be affected by key sex hormones.

Male infertility may lead to prostate cancer because of abnormalities in the Y chromosome - one of the two sex chromosomes carried in men's sperm which decides if a child will be a boy or girl.

According to the Swedish study, men undergoing fertility treatment called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), which involves the injection of a single sperm directly into a mature egg, were 64 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who conceived naturally particularly before the age of 55 was 86 percent higher. 

However, according to experts, infertile men may benefit from early screening and long-term monitoring for prostate cancer.

Read: What Your Sex Life Says About Your Heart Health

Lead researcher Yahia Al-Jebari, from Lund University, said that men who achieved fatherhood through assisted reproduction techniques, especially through ICSI, are at higher risk for early-onset prostate cancer and therefore constitute a risk group in which testing and careful long term follow-up for prostate cancer may be beneficial.

Prostate cancer, a type of cancer of prostate gland, is common in men over the age of 50 and male infertility as well affects eight percent of all men.

Allan Pacey, fertility expert, and Professor of Andrology at Sheffield University, said:

This study is excellent, and adds further evidence to the canary in the coal mine theory by showing that Swedish men who became fathers using techniques of assisted reproduction - such as ICSI - are at increased risk of prostate cancer later in life.

It is important to be clear that this is not because the techniques of assisted reproduction go on to cause prostate cancer, but probably because the two have a common cause in some way.

Perhaps all men who are diagnosed with a fertility problem in their 20’s and 30’s should be given a leaflet explaining what this might mean for them in their 50’s and 60’s so that they can be aware of possible future problems and be encouraged to visit their GP a bit quicker than they often do.

Professor Charles Kingsland, clinical director at CARE Fertility clinics, strongly recommended for further research, to look into risks of prostate cancer in men with reproductive problems who don’t go on to father children.  

What Is Male Infertility?

Male infertility refers to a male’s inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. It is generally caused due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blocks that intercept the delivery of sperm. Apart from these, poor health, injuries, chronic health problems, way of living, and other factors can play a role in resulting in male infertility.

By Sowmya Sangam

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