Infertility drugs such as clomiphene can double or even triple the risk of developing ovarian cancer if taken for longer than a year, an important new study has concluded.

It is the first complete study to look at all the data, and one that is badly overdue, considering that as far back as 1988 more than two million women in the US alone had taken some sort of infertility drug.

The study, led by Dr Mary Anne Rossing, is based on 3,837 infertile American women in Seattle, Washington between 1974 and 1985. It discovered that 11 in the group reported an invasive or borderline malignant ovarian tumour against an expected average of 4.4. Of these, nine were taking clomiphene and five of these for longer than a year.

It adds further fuel to earlier fears of a link between the drug and cancer. NEJM, 22 September 1994.

Low fertility in men can run in families, a new study has discovered. Scientists at Leeds University in England discovered that men with low sperm counts also had brothers with no children. Of the 148 men monitored, 16 per cent had childless brothers, whereas men with two or more children had none.

!ABMJ, 3 September 1994.

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