Common chemicals could contribute to infertility

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: March 8th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Spring is in the air and abounds with the spirit of new life. But even as spring babies are being born, many couples are struggling to have children. Some will resort to expensive fertility treatments … but the problem could be in their very own homes. New research has shown that men and women with high levels of chemicals in their blood took longer to conceive than couples with lower levels — and the effects seem to be more pronounced in men.

These fertility-killing chemicals, known as perfluorochemicals (per-floor-o-chemicals), or P-F-Cs, are found in commonly used cleaning products, clothing, food packaging, nonstick cooking surfaces, electrical wire and furniture. Another type collects in the fatty tissues of animals we eat.

Researchers followed 500 couples for a year and took regular blood samples as they set out to conceive. Women recorded their monthly cycles and the results of their pregnancy tests. The scientists guessed the likelihood of each couple seeing that little blue line based on the concentration of the chemical compounds in their blood. They found that couples with high levels of these chemicals had a 20 percent harder time getting pregnant, about the same effect that smoking has on fertility.

One solution to avoid ingesting these malicious microbes is to trim excess fat from meat before cooking, or to avoid fatty cuts altogether. Besides that and avoiding secondhand smoke, there’s not a whole lot you can do to escape PFCs since they’re so persistent in our modern environment. But there are a few things you can do to boost your chances of having a baby in other ways.

Know when you’re ovulating, as an unfertilized egg lives just 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary. Maintain a healthy weight and eat foods rich in folate, like spinach. Keep your body ready for baby and fertility will follow.