Study suggests that chemicals around us can lower our potential to give birth

You might be one of those many couples that have tried to have a child in vain. A new study suggests that chemicals found in our water, soil and food may be responsible for that. There are chemicals that are known to persist in the environment for decades. One example is perfluorochemicals (PFC) which is used in food packaging, furniture, clothing, adhesives and electrical wire insulation. There is another one called lipophilic organochlorine pollutants which is also known to accumulate in in animal fatty tissues.

The research shows that couples with lower levels of these chemicals usually conceive much easier compared to couples with higher levels of it. Those daily pollutants seem to have more effect in men. It may be too early to know how these ubiquitous chemical substances affect the reproduction system of men and women. The worrying part is we don’t have any control on how much of it goes into our bloodstream. We can still increase the chances of giving birth by making sure we maintain a healthy lifestyle like avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight.

The results of this research was published on the net in “Environmental Health Perspectives’.

A group of 500 couples trying to give birth were observed for about a year. The researchers made sure to test their blood for the presence of common daily pollutants like organochlorines and PFCs. The women were given a diary to keep track of their menstrual cycles. They also had some pregnancy tests kit to check whether they got pregnant or not. The researchers did an estimation of the couples chances to get pregnant in relation to the amount of pollutants found in their blood. The results seems to confirm that those pollutants do have an effect on the ability to conceive.

Researcher Germaine Buck Louis, PhD stated that those chemicals compounds are persistent in the environment. We found them on our animal fat and dairy products.

So as a couple, what is left for you to do?

Since those pollutants are everywhere and persistent, there is not much a parent can do. That said you can still watch what you are eating. For example make sure you get rid of all the fats in meat and fish, that is where organochlorine pollutants accumulate.

When Louis was asked the magnitude at which these pollutants make it difficult to conceive, she said it can be compared to cigarette smoking. The chemical compounds make it about 20% harder to give birth to a child. Even in the case where these couples with high concentration of these chemicals request for technological assistance in order to conceive, the chances are still low. She added that there still could be a chance to increase fertility by making some adjustment. The team of research is looking at other factors that could increase or decrease the chances of conceiving like alcohol, caffeine and vitamins.

The good news is you can still avoid chemicals where you can. Avoid using pesticides where possible. Don’t smoke and avoid staying around people who smoke. Having these chemicals around does not mean the end of the world. They may play a role in making conceiving harder but it is still possible. After several trials a couple will still be able to have the baby they dreamed of.