Answer to Question #10503 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
When my daughter-in-law was 18 years old, she had a Harrington rod inserted in her lumbar spine to correct scoliosis. She had numerous x rays, a myelogram, and fluoroscopy during surgery. She is now 30 years old and married. She would like to have children but is convinced that the risk of damage to her ovaries from all that x radiation means she risks having a damaged child even if she has not been rendered infertile. Is she right?
Thank you for using the Health Physics Society (HPS) Ask the Expert webpage. Your daughter-in-law need not worry about the effects of the x-ray procedures on her ability to get pregnant or the effects on any children she may have. The dose necessary to cause sterility is much, much higher than the dose to the ovaries that your daughter-in-law received even considering that myelograms result in higher ovarian doses than many other radiographic procedures. Also, preconception parental radiation exposures are not linked with adverse reproductive outcomes, including miscarriage, neonatal death, and congenital abnormalities. You should know, however, that the inherent risk for birth defects is 3 percent for healthy young women with no reproductive problems or family history of reproductive problems.
Kent Lambert, CHP