As we discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, sperm production and ovulation are a result of a well-balanced endocrine system (pituitary, hypothalamus, and gonads). Some women and men have hormonal irregularities that may interfere with the process of ovulation or sperm production. Although we do not always know why these hormonal problems develop, many problems can be treated with fertility drugs. The results from these drugs have been encouraging.
Because all of the fertility drugs for women work to increase ova production, there is an increased possibility of multiple births and a condition known as “ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.” This has raised concern about the possible correlation between the use of fertility drugs and the development of breast or ovarian cancer. Although some studies have found a weak link between the two (Burmeister & Healy, 1998), others have found a moderate link (Brinton et al., 2005) or no association (Hollander, 2000).