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Posted by on Nov 11, 2019 in Infertility | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This review examined how six commonly used industrial chemicals interfere with fertility in women.

Some background

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that can contribute to infertility by interfering with normal hormone functions. They are used in the manufacturing of many everyday products, such as food, packaging, and cosmetics. In women, EDCs can affect the production and release of eggs (ovulation). EDCs can also affect how well a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall (implantation). The effects of EDCs on fertility in women remain under investigation. 

Methods & findings

Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly used to make plastic bottles, cans, and pipes. BPA has been detected in body fluids, including breast milk, umbilical cord blood, and amniotic fluid. BPA reduces estrogen production and decreases ovulation. BPA also affects egg survival, maturation, and implantation. This may influence the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, BPA does not seem to affect the rate of pregnancy and births following IVF.

Triclosan (TCL) is commonly found in soaps and toothpaste. TCL has been detected in blood and breast milk. TCL reduces the numbers of eggs harvested for IVF but not implantation, pregnancy, or births. Studies have also shown that high levels of TCL in the body can lower fertility.

Parabens are used as preservatives in food and pharmaceuticals. Large paraben molecules interfere more strongly with estrogen function and reduce the numbers of eggs. Whether parabens affect the success of IVF remains under investigation.

Phthalates are used to make plastics and cosmetics. Phthalates appear to slow the maturation of hormones and reduce estrogen production. Phthalates have also been linked to lower numbers of eggs, thus influencing implantation, pregnancy, and birth rates after IVF.

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are used to protect products such as clothes, furniture, and electrical wires. PFCs affect hormone activities and cause irregular menstrual cycles and delayed ovulation.  PFCs may also affect fertilization and reduce fertility during IVF.

Organochlorines such as DDT have been widely used for pest control. Although banned in most Western countries, these chemicals are long-lived and can accumulate in the human body. Some organochlorines interfere with estrogen and anti-Mullerian hormone, key hormones during pregnancy. This can reduce ovulation, fertilization, and implantation, thus lowering the success of IVF.

The bottom line

This review examined how six commonly used industrial chemicals interfere with fertility in women. These EDCs can impact hormone function and the success of infertility treatments such as IVF.

The fine print

This article was limited by the small number of studies on each of the six EDCs and female fertility.  The studies used in this review did not account for other factors that can affect fertility, such as stress.

Published By :

Human fertility (Cambridge, England)

Date :

Apr 01, 2019

Original Title :

Exposure to modern, widespread environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals and their effect on the reproductive potential of women: an overview of current epidemiological evidence.

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