Shannen Doherty opens up about 'desperately' wanting a child amid breast cancer treatments

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Shannen Doherty is opening up about her past struggle with in-vitro fertilization treatments before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.

On Monday's episode of her podcast "Let's Be Clear," the 52-year-old actress said she was "desperately" trying to get pregnant via IVF during her marriage to Kurt Iswarienko. Doherty and Iswarienko were married for 11 years before the actress filed for divorce in April.

"Not only did I want a child for myself, but I wanted it for my husband. I wanted it for our marriage, I wanted him to have that part of himself fulfilled as well," she recalled. Because the couple met later in life, she says they "needed IVF and I did a bunch of rounds of it."

Shannen Doherty opened up about her fertility struggles amid her 2015 breast cancer diagnosis.
Shannen Doherty opened up about her fertility struggles amid her 2015 breast cancer diagnosis.

Doherty said that at the time she "believed that the reason why I got cancer was because I did IVF," adding, "A lot of other women that I knew that did IVF that ended up getting breast cancer as well."

"If you sort of have a cell that's a little wonky and that's sitting on the edge of maybe turning, spreading cancer … all the hormones that you're pumping into your body from IVF are only going to up that chance. That was at least my thinking," she said.

A 2016 study by the British Medical Journal, which followed over 255,000 women in Britain going through IVF, found "no increased risk of womb cancer or invasive breast cancer." Another study in 2022 published by the British Journal of Surgery concluded there was "no significant breast-cancer risk association with fertility treatment" and no increased risk for those who underwent IVF over six times.

Doherty added on her podcast that because she believed IVF contributed to her breast cancer diagnosis, she initially declined the treatment Tamoxifen when she went into remission in 2017.

"I don't want to say that I made a very uninformed decision. I'm a researcher, I'm hardcore (but) my decision was, at the time, based on sort of the facts that I knew, that I had investigated," she said, noting that her oncologist was persistent in trying to convince her to undergo the breast cancer treatment.

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Doherty revealed on Instagram in June that cancer had spread to her brain amid her diagnosis with stage 4 breast cancer. She had the brain tumor surgically removed and underwent radiation.

In an interview with ET last month, Doherty opened up about how her journey of having children has been impacted by having cancer.

"I have looked at adopting, and all sorts of different options. I think I struggle a lot with my cancer diagnosis, and how fair it is (to a child)," she said. "I'm in treatment, and I'm gonna see if that treatment works, see what's coming down the pipeline, what clinical trials (are available) and if I feel like I can give a long enough time to a child, then I'll definitely do it."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shannen Doherty says she declined breast cancer treatment amid IVF