Recent study finds BPA linked to infertility



The cause of infertility is uncertain for almost 20 percent of couples in the United States who have been struggling with it and trying successful treatments like Clomid.

The cause of infertility is uncertain for almost 20 percent of couples in the United States who have been struggling with it and trying successful treatments like Clomid. A new study by Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, published in the July 2013 edition of Human Reproduction, found that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), found in many plastic materials, may be one cause of fertility that is often difficult to diagnose.

In the study, researchers point out that human exposure to BPA is widespread and it has even been found in follicular fluid in women. Oocytes - non-mature eggs - were analyzed from more than 450 women being treated with IVF or ICSI. Researchers found that the presence of BPA affected oocyte maturation and caused them to develop spindles. In fact, as researchers increased the dose of BPA to which oocytes were exposed, less of them progressed to the next stage of development, metaphase II. If oocytes do not mature, they don't develop into adults eggs that are able to be fertilized by sperm.

Additionally, higher levels of BPA were more likely to cause eggs in metaphase II to act as if they had been fertilized when they had not. This finding is significant because it further relates female infertility to BPA exposure.

"Our data show that BPA exposure can dramatically inhibit egg maturation and adds to a growing body of evidence about the impact of BPA on human health," said Catherine Racowsky, director of the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Laboratory at Brigham.

Previous research
Past studies have drawn a connection to fertility struggles and exposure to BPA. In a May 2013 study published in Gynecological Endocrinology, researchers at University of Rome La Sapienza analyzed blood samples and found that women who were infertile were more likely to have detectable levels of BPA in their blood. BPA has been labeled an endocrine disrupting chemical. Unfortunately, it's hard to avoid: According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, BPA can be found in our food, children's toys, plastic bottles, metal food cans, cosmetics, detergents and pesticides.

Another study by Harvard School of Public Health scientists, published in the July 2012 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, found that there was a strong positive correlation between concentrations of BPA in women's urine and implantation failure during IVF treatment.