Shannen Doherty opens up about ‘desperately’ wanting a child amid breast cancer treatments
Shannen Doherty candidly shared her past challenges with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments before her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 during a recent episode of her podcast, “Let’s Be Clear.” The 52-year-old actress spoke about her strong desire to conceive through IVF while married to Kurt Iswarienko, a union that lasted for 11 years before her filing for divorce in April.
Expressing her earnest wish for a child both for herself and to fulfill a part of her husband’s life, Doherty highlighted that due to meeting later in life, they heavily relied on IVF. She mentioned undergoing numerous rounds of IVF treatments.
Reflecting on that period, Doherty shared her belief at the time that her cancer was potentially linked to her IVF attempts. She expressed concerns, stating, “A lot of other women that I knew that did IVF ended up getting breast cancer as well.” She elaborated on her thoughts, suggesting that the hormonal impact of IVF on a possibly precarious cell could elevate the chances of cancer development.
Despite her apprehensions, studies provided contrasting evidence. A 2016 study published in the British Medical Journal, following a large group of women undergoing IVF, found no increased risk of womb or invasive breast cancer. Similarly, a 2022 study in the British Journal of Surgery concluded that fertility treatments, including IVF, did not show significant associations with breast cancer risks.
Doherty admitted on her podcast that due to her belief in the IVF-cancer link, she initially declined the treatment Tamoxifen after achieving remission in 2017. She acknowledged her decision, acknowledging she had researched extensively but was swayed by her understanding at the time.
Despite her battle with cancer—recently disclosing the spread of the disease to her brain and undergoing surgery and radiation—Doherty revealed in an interview that her illness had deeply affected her aspirations of having children. Considering options such as adoption, she expressed concerns about the fairness of her cancer diagnosis to a child. She intends to explore treatment options and clinical trials, aiming to assess whether she could provide the necessary time and care to a child in the future.