Two young women from Wisconsin are claiming that the vaccination Gardasil caused both of them to go into early menopause from ovarian failure. The sisters filed a claim in November 2010 and in November 2013 their case was being heard by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to determine if they should receive a settlement from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Many experts disagree with the claims, stating that “There is nothing about this particular vaccine that would make this at all plausible. There is nothing hormonal in Gardasil or anything anti-hormonal in Gardasil - nothing that should encourage the body to stop producing ovarian hormones.” 
The vaccine, one of two HPV vaccinations, is given to teenagers (male and female) to fight the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is sexually transmitted and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccines are working. A single dose of the vaccine (the complete vaccine of Gardasil is given in 3 doses spaced over several months), cuts the risk of HPV by 82 percent. HPV rates among girls aged 14 to 16 are down by 56 percent.
A blog on ScienceBlogs explains where the connection between ovarian failure and Gardasil comes from. A peer-reviewed report, published in BMJ Case Reports discusses a 16 year old girl from Australia who experienced early menopause and therefore, infertility. Her doctors ran through the standard testing to find a cause but were unable to do so. The authors of the report state, “Dr. Little (the ob/gyn for the young girl) was able to rule out all other possible causes. The circumstantial evidence implicating Gardasil is strong.”  In other words, there wasn’t any other cause so it must have been Gardasil - but, the authors offer no evidence to support this theory.
According to YoungWomensHealth.org, “Approximately 1 out of every 1,000 teens and adult women between 15 and 29 years of age...Most of the time doctors don’t know the cause of primary ovarian insufficiency.”  The fact that the doctor in Australia couldn’t find the cause of the young women’s early menopause, therefore, is more common than if they were to find the reason.
Before Gardasil was given approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Merck, the manufacturer, conducted testing in more than 25,000 people. The researchers did not find a link between Gardasil and primary ovarian failure. John Graberstein, the executive director of Merck, told ABCNews.com that since it came on the market, 125 million doses of Gardasil have been administered around the world. “We’ve not found any reason to believe there’s a cause-effect relationship between the vaccine and ovarian failure,”  he said.
Even if the two sisters receive a settlement from the Vaccine Injury Compensation, it doesn’t mean that there is a connection. “In settled cases, the court does not determine that the vaccine caused the injury,”  according to David Bowman, a spokesperson for the Health Resources and Services Administration, the department which runs the program.
Parents and teens need to look at all of the information on the vaccine and decide what is best for their teen. Talking to your doctor about your concerns and asking questions to help you understand both the benefits and the risks of the vaccine is important.
   “Doctors Call Claims That Gardasil Caused SIsters’ Infertility Bogus,” 2013, Nov 8, Sydney Lupkin, ABCNews.com
 “Ovarian Failure Caused by Gardasil? Not So Fast…” 2012, Oct. 30, Orac, ScienceBlogs.com
 “Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI),” Updated 2013, June, Staff Writer, Boston’s Children Hospital
Published On: November 11, 2013