In a nutshell
This study investigated if there is a link between ingestion of pesticide residues and the success of fertility treatment.
They found that a greater intake of high pesticide residues is associated with a lower chance of achieving pregnancy and live birth in women undergoing fertility treatment.
Pesticides are commonly used in the farming of fruit and vegetables. Pesticide exposure has been linked to a number of chronic diseases. Although the levels of pesticides used in the production of fruits and vegetables is low, there is concern that these levels may be too high for pregnant women or infants.
Some animal studies have shown that birth rates are reduced in mothers that are exposed to pesticides. It has been suggested that this may also occur in humans and that pesticide exposure may reduce the chance of successful pregnancy.
Methods & findings
This study investigated if there is a link between pesticide residue exposure and the success of fertility treatment.
This study included 325 women who underwent assisted reproductive treatment (ART). Their diet was examined prior to starting fertility treatment. Foods were classified based on standard US FDA guidelines. Fruits and vegetables (FV) were categorized as having a high- or low-pesticide residues.
Women who consumed more high-pesticide residue FV had a reduced chance of becoming pregnant (18%) and having a live birth (26%). High-pesticide FV intake was also associated with an increased chance of pregnancy loss. Women who switched from one serving of high-residue FV to low-residue FV had an increased chance of becoming pregnant (79%) and having a live birth (88%), compared to those who did not.
The bottom line
This study concluded that a greater intake of pesticide residues is associated with a lower chance of achieving pregnancy and live birth in women undergoing fertility treatment.
The fine print
The FV intake was self-reported and pesticide residues can only be estimated – the actual pesticide exposure could not be determined. The average FV intake of women in this study was twice the US average so the results may not extend to the general population.
If you have any concerns regarding pesticide exposure and fertility treatment, please discuss with your doctor.
Published By :
JAMA Internal Medicine
Oct 30, 2017