A MUM claims that her hidden brain tumour grew to the "size of an orange" after five rounds of IVF.
Serena Jardine, 53, claimed that the hormones she took during the seven years of IVF treatment sped up the growth of her benign brain tumour.
Months after giving birth to her son James, Serena's dizzy spells turned to headaches which eventually left her unable to speak.
Experts believe that the benign tumour grew rapidly after it reacted with the hormones Serena had been taking during her fertility treatment.
“No one told me anything about the potential downsides – it was just, ‘This is what we have to do to get you a baby," Serena told The Mirror.
“You are told to inject this every day and take that, but nobody really goes into what these hormones might do and the potential harm they can do.
“Of course, I had no idea I had a brain tumour – or that hormones I had taken might accelerate the growth.”
Serena, from West Sussex, was 38 when she and her husband married and after three years of trying for a baby, the couple opted for IVF.
In 2012, after baby James was born Serena's health began to deteriorate.
“I began doing stupid things like leaving the keys in the door and then I started having the occasional really bad headache six months after James was born,” she said.
“My character changed too. I was instantly angered if something upset me and was very emotional. And I’m a very mild-mannered person.
“Then one day Scott asked me a question and I discovered I couldn’t speak. He took one look at me and said my face had dropped.”
After an MRI scan showed the size of the massive tumour, Serena underwent a 10-hour operation in April 2014.
What is IVF?
The process involves removing an egg from a woman’s ovaries and fertilising them using sperm in a laboratory.
The fertilised egg, also known as an embryo, is transferred back into a woman’s womb to grow.
The process can use eggs and sperm from the couple themselves, or these can be sourced from a donor.
Consultant Neurosurgeon Dr Anthony Ghosh who performed Serena's life-saving surgery believes that IVF led to the accelerated growth of her tumour.
“If someone has a small meningioma you wouldn’t advise never to have IVF but you’d give some warning that they can grow and it may be worth keeping it under surveillance," he told The Mirror.
“We know cases of women with a brain tumour that after IVF became massive.
"You can’t say IVF can develop a new brain tumour or meningioma but if you have one, it can cause it to grow.”
Five percent of Serena's tumour was left as it was dangerously close to her optic nerve and major blood vessels.
“Meningiomas arise from the lining of the brain and you often find them adjacent to the skull," Dr Ghosh said.
"The majority are benign and there is a two-to-one female to male ratio, which is where the theory came about that there are oestrogen and progesterone receptors on them.”
Dr Ghosh said of women with the brain tumour, around 12% have had at least one round IVF.
He added: “We have also seen women with gender dysphoria who are given oestrogen therapy grow multiple meningiomas and when they stop the treatment we see the meningiomas regress.”
Serena has set up a GoFundMe to help her train as a medical herbalist after she claimed that using herbs has helped her thyroid following her tumour.
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