The University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom finds that etoposide – a chemotherapy drug used to treat lung cancer, ovarian cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma – may affect the future fertility of unborn baby girls. Baby girls of mothers who received chemotherapy drugs during pregnancy may go on to experience fertility problems. Etoposide works by blocking an enzyme, which is necessary for cancer cells to divide and grow into two new cells. If this enzyme is blocked, the cell’s DNA becomes tangled, and the cell can no longer divide. During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy from 4-9 months chemotherapy treatment if considered to be relatively safe for the developing fetus with several studies showing no birth defects in infants born to women receiving chemotherapy at that time.
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