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IUD-infertility link.

IUD-infertility link

Intrauterine devices (IUDs), the contraceptive choice of an estimated 2.2 million women in the United States, increase the likelihood of infertility, according to two studies in the April 11 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.

Previous studies have shown that women who use IUDs are more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. But these are the first studies to show a direct link, says Janet R. Daling, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and coauthor of one of the current papers. She and her colleagues found a higher rate of past IUD use in 159 women who are infertile because of fallopian tube damage than in a group of women who conceived around the time the infertile women started trying. They determined that IUD users had a 2.6 times higher risk of infertility, even if they hadn't had overt PID.

Some IUDs are riskier than others, they found. The Dalkon Shield, which is no longer marketed, raised its users' risk to 6.8 times that of controls, while the risk of copper-containing IUDs was only 1.3.

A second, multinational, multi-institutional study of 283 infertile women and 3,833 new mothers found similar risks, leading the researchers to estimate that IUDs have made about 88,000 women in the United States infertile. The two studies, Daling notes, were of different design and carried out in different regions of the United States, making the similar findings particularly strong.
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Title Annotation:intrauterine device
Author:Silberner, Joanne
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 13, 1985
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