What are Some of the Threats to Female Fertility

With increasing numbers of young female survivors following cytotoxic cancer treatments, the issue of fertility preservation is ever more important. This is due to ovarian aging and cytotoxic treatments, since these are the most common causes for fertility loss in women. One recent study shows that phthalates (chemicals found in plastics and hundreds of household and personal items) are harmful to women who are trying to become pregnant. Exposure to these chemicals can also affect the male fertility, as well.

Many women are being affected by the phthalates. In one study, over 200 hundred women who were having in vitro fertilization (IVF), were evaluated for phthalates exposure. This involved testing the urine for metabolites of four different phthalates. These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors, and they were actually detected incanstockphoto6465181 almost every single woman. This suggests that phthalates are found too often in women, and the effects of these chemicals are devastating to their fertility among other things. New findings state that the average woman may expose herself to over 500 chemicals a day through make-up and grooming.

Few Items Containing Phthalates

  • Cosmetics
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Many household items

Female Fertility Risk Facts

  • Ovarian function is impaired by the chemicals in phthalates. The exposure to these harmful chemicals causes the female to produce fewer eggs.
  • Miscarriage, in which the embryo doesn’t attach on to the uterus, is a result of high exposure to a phthalate found in vinyl plastic. Due to the exposure, it made doubled the risk of implantation failure. Women who aren’t exposed to this chemical have better chances of a successful attachment of the embryo to the uterus.
  • Sperm quality and quantity have shown reductions due to the same chemicals from phthalates. These chemicals disrupt the sexual reproduction hormones.
  • Women’s reproductive health suffers greatly from these chemicals, and the damage may not be reversible.

Estrogen or Not?

Phthalates are a bit sneaky, as they actually mimic estrogen making them hard to detect. They are endocrine disruptors on estrogen receptors, which act like fake estrogen. The way they mimic the estrogen is dangerous. They disrupt the delicate hormonal balance between estrogen and progesterone, and this can cause infertility in women. Researchers recently found that the decrease in egg implantation and production is significant. Others studies suggest in earlier findings that phthalates were linked to a bigger risk for miscarriage, infertility, and endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a painful disorder where tissue grows in parts of the pelvis where it shouldn’t. Our bodies take in phthalates due to the fact that their chemical make-up and structure is similar to estrogen. Most bodies absorb these toxins, and soon pay the consequences due to the drop in fertility. They also disrupt the endocrine due to the body not being able to process the toxins.

Female Fertility Preservation

Researchers investigated ovarian aging and cytotoxic therapies which were common causes of infertility in women. During a literature review, the researchers found that to date, embryo freezing is the only established method for successful fertility preservation for female patients with cancer. However, other methods are being investigated in experimental trials. In conclusion, the scientists found that physician knowledge, patient awareness, cost management, and research development are required to improve the current patient care in the area of female fertility preservation

Avoiding Phthalates

  • Avoid plastic food storage containers.canstockphoto6826983
  • Do not use plastic toys, lunch boxes, or water bottles.
  • Possible exposure through plastic water pipes.
  • Avoid certain household cleaning items and cleansers.
  • Check all grooming and personal care products.
  • Pay attention to recycling numbers on plastic products. If it has codes 3 or 4 on the bottle, they may be more dangerous and contain phthalates.
  • Don’t buy things with the word fragrance in the ingredients. This is including baby products, wipes, and air fresheners. However the term “natural” implies they are safe.
  • NEVER heat food in plastic containers, bags, or anything thing remotely close to plastic. Even if it says “heat and eat” or “heat in bag,” avoid this. Instead, heat in glass, ceramic, metal or paper plates.
  • Buy organic foods, as no phthalates are in organic.
  • Be watchful of toys made of plastic before 2009. Phthalates were removed from children’s plastic toys after this year.
  • Don’t store food in plastic… again use glass, ceramic, or metal.


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