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ASRM Research Shows BPA Impacts Fertility, Miscarriage Rates

October 15, 2013

New research presented Monday at the joint conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) links bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates to decreased fertility.

Often used in manufacturing of plastics and everyday household items, and found in the environment as a byproduct, these chemicals are known to create hormone imbalances of the endocrine system. Evidence also suggests that these chemicals could impact the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF), however little data exists on couples presumed fertile, those new to trying to conceive, and the link between chemical exposure and miscarriage rates.

One multi-site study conducted at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Texas A&M Rural School of Public Health, and New York State Department of Public Health examined data from 501 couples from 2005 to 2009 and concluded that phthalates contributed to a 20% decline in fertility in males. Oddly enough, female participants in this study with higher blood concentration of these chemicals showed shorter time to pregnancy.

In another study, scientists at the University of California San Francisco, Stanford University, and the University of Missouri, collected data from 114 women and determined that those with the highest blood serum BPA levels had an increased risk of miscarriage, regardless of potential chromosome abnormalities in the fetus.

President of ASRM, Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, commented, “Many studies on environmental contaminants’ impact on reproductive capacity have been focused on infertility patients and it is clear that high levels of exposure affect them negatively. These studies extend our observations to the general population and show that these chemicals are a cause for concern to all of us.” It is clear that further research is warranted to establish clear guidelines on exposure to these chemicals while trying to conceive, pursuing fertility treatment, and during pregnancy.


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