Years of research have confirmed that exposure to BPA, or bisphenol A, alters the reproductive system in unpredictable ways, making male mice act like female mice, decreasing sperm quality and count in men, and causing other forms of sexual dysfunction. Now a new study has found that BPA exposure might also hinder a woman's chance of getting pregnant if she is undergoing fertility treatments.


The new study, from researchers at Harvard, followed 137 women undergoing fertility treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center and attempted to determine whether or not a woman's exposure to BPA affected her chances of becoming pregnant using IVF treatment. The patients were followed through each IVF cycle until they delivered their baby or stopped treatment.


Researchers categorized each patient into one of four exposure groups based on the BPA levels in their urine. They found that women with higher BPA levels were less likely to get pregnant than women with lower levels. Even after controlling for factors such as the woman’s age, day of embryo transfer, and IVF protocol followed, the results gave a clear indication that IVF failure increased in women with higher BPA levels in their urine. The link was stronger in women having more intense fertility treatments.


Bottom line: For the women in the study, the chances of getting pregnant decreased with increasing exposure levels of BPA. If you are trying to get pregnant, and certainly if you are undergoing IVF treatment, it's a good idea to avoid BPA whenever possible to increase your chances for success.


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