Earlier studies suggested that an exposure to unclean or polluted air can trigger female infertility, but that was somehow overlooked by some fertility doctors and women. With time, fertility experts began spreading awareness of the potential risks linked to polluted areas in pregnant women and women generally. Pollution sources considered for the study included wood or fossil fuel combustion. It was ascertained that this type of air pollution triggers stroke, heart disease, inflammation, in conjunction with infertility.
According to a recent study, researchers discovered that an exposure to high levels of air pollution can reduce one’s fertility treatment success rate. Indeed, pregnancy losses were increased in women exposed to the highest levels of air pollution, classified in 5 forms.
According to the researchers, the actual mechanism of how air pollution causes infertility and induces miscarriages is unclear, but high ambient air pollution has the potential of affecting the outcomes of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), a common type of ART conducted worldwide.
As per the Conducted Survey
Records of 4,581 women who underwent at least one or two IVF treatment cycles were considered in a study and the main aim was to find whether air pollution could affect the success rate of this fertility treatment. The researchers also used district-level pollution-monitoring data from at least 40 locations in the city. The data was used to estimate the average amount of pollution each woman was exposed to each hour during her fertility treatment.
The forms of air pollution considered were carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and PM 10 (tiny pollution particles), the main composition of the emissions from traffic vehicles, industrial sites, and construction. Researchers analyzed the effect of each pollutant on the various IVF stages. The stages began with ovarian stimulation, embryo transfer, hormonal test, and lastly to the blood tests to confirm pregnancy. A half of the women had two or more embryo transfer during the entire course of IVF treatments and the results were as follows;
- 51% attained pregnancy
- 9.4% of biochemical pregnancy loss. The first hormone test indicated an early pregnancy, but the subsequent ones indicated that the pregnancies hadn’t been sustained
- Those that indicated intrauterine pregnancies that were lost per cycle were estimated to be at 38%.
Researchers found that exposure to pollution during the first and a third IVF treatment cycle stage was linked to pregnancy losses. With the third stage of the IVF treatment cycle, higher exposure to nitrogen dioxide, PM 10, and carbon monoxide were linked to 7% to 8% lower chance of intrauterine pregnancy. In addition, an exposure to nitrogen dioxide and PM 10 were linked to 17% to 18%, increased chances of biochemical pregnancy loss.
All in all, increased levels of pollution around the period of ovarian stimulation and embryo transfer can trigger IVF failure. It is recommended for women struggling with infertility and those undergoing infertility treatments to limit outdoor movements and high-risk zones (polluted).