In our modern day-to-day life, we come into contact with several different chemicals through the products we use, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. Studies indicate that a specific group of chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may have adverse effects on female and male reproductive health.
If you’re planning a normal or IVF pregnancy, or if you’re already pregnant, here’s what you need to know about EDCs and how to avoid to increase your chances of successful IVF pregnancy.
EDCs are substances that can be found in the air, soil, water, food, and manufactured products. They can interfere with the body’s normal functioning, including the reproductive systems of women and men. Some EDCs occur naturally in food. Soybeans and ﬂax seeds, for example, are high in a substance called phytoestrogen which mimics the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen. However, you would need to consume an awful lot of these foods for the phytoestrogen to affect you.
But the point of concern is that there are about 800 artificial EDCs in everyday items, so to have a high success rate of your IVF treatment you should minimize their exposure on your body, these items are including such as food container plastics, personal care items, and food products. EDCs are also present in manufacturing and agricultural operations. Regardless of their many different sources, we are all exposed to EDCs, but the exposure varies depending on your work, lifestyle choices, and location.
Because we are exposed to combinations of so many various types of chemicals, it is often hard to know precisely how particular chemicals affect our health. But in the case of EDCs, research has found that male and female reproductive health may be adversely affected by mimicking or blocking male and female sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone). It can cause: changes in levels of hormones, decreased sperm and egg quality, sperm DNA damage, longer menstrual cycles, taking longer to achieve a pregnancy, increased risk of miscarriage, and early menopause.
Evidence indicates that EDCs are found in 95% of people studied, and some EDCs are higher in people who are infertile. People who are exposed to high levels of certain EDCs through their profession have increased fertility risk. Particularly, higher rates of certain EDCs decrease the chance of getting pregnant among couples using assisted reproductive technology (ART).
While we can not avoid exposure to EDCs, we can start taking some basic steps to reduce exposure to EDCs. This is particularly important for women and men who are planning or undergoing IVF treatment. You can talk to us or contact us about what precautionary measures you can take to reduce the risks of EDCs when planning IVF treatment.