The “Angelina Jolie” BRCA Gene and Your Fertility

Women who carry the gene that increases their risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer may also have a higher risk for infertility.

“Women in their mid-30s who carry the BRCA1 mutation have, on average, ovarian reserves similar to those of non-carriers who are two years older.”

Scientists in Australia and at St. Andrews university in the UK recently published a study in the Journal of Human Reproduction that analyzed 693 women aged 25 to 45 who had never had cancer. They found that those women who carried the BRCA1 mutation– the gene mutation made more well-known after the actress Angelina Jolie learned that she carried it – had 25 percent lower levels of Anti-Mullerian hormone. AMH is produced in the ovarian follicles and is a key marker for egg reserves. The team said that this mutation may even affect a hormone that makes fertility drugs less effective.

In a story in the UK’s Daily Mail, Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, said:

‘This means that women in their mid-30s who carry the BRCA1 mutation have, on average, ovarian reserves similar to those of non-carriers who are two years older.Women with the BRCA1 mutation should try to avoid delaying pregnancy until their late 30s or 40s when fertility is reduced anyway because of their age.’

She also assured women in their 20s who are trying to conceive that that the mutation is unlikely to a a big difference.

 

 

 

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