50% Possible Drop in Successful IVF After Increased BPA Exposure

January 5, 2011

I know I have mentioned the problems with BPA before, but if you know anyone undertaking IVF then please pass this on to them. A study by the University of California, San Francisco, has identified the first evidence in women that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may compromise the quality of a woman’s eggs.

Undertaking IVF (in vitro fertilization) can be a physically and emotionally challenging time and now it seems there may be a new factor to also take into consideration. The scientists found that when blood levels of BPA in the women studied doubled, the percentage of eggs that fertilized normally declined by 50 percent

I have previously highlighted the increasing concern about the negative effects of BPA on health and this is an additional reason to avoid it wherever possible. BPA is a synthetic chemical and environmental contaminant that is widespread and found particularly in plastics. It fundamentally disrupts the body’s endocrine system and when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and interferes with the body’s normal functions.

Professor Victor Y. Fujimoto, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Center for Reproductive Health at the University said:
“While preliminary, the data indicate the negative effect of BPA on reproductive health and the importance of allocating more funding to further investigate why such environmental contaminants might be disrupting fertility potential.”

It also impacts women who may not be undergoing IVF but are trying, or wanting, to start a family. Obviously this negative impact on the quality of eggs affects all women and it makes sense to factor this in when creating the ideal conditions to start a family.
BPA exposure is widespread in the industrialised world and even a modest effect on reproduction is of substantial concern. Unfortunately, at this time there is no clinically-available test to determine BPA levels in women so undertaking a healthy approach to both diet and lifestyle.

For more information on BPA, an excellent resource is an alliance of partners led by the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment who launched an online resource called Toxic Matters to help consumers make smarter decisions about substances that can harm general and reproductive health.

The brochure and web page include tips on reducing exposure to metals and synthetic chemicals in everyday life — at home, at work, and in the community — and provide links to other sources with more detailed information. The website is available at http://prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/toxicmatters.html


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