IVF and air pollutants don't mix

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If you are undergoing IVF, new research shows you should reduce your exposure to air pollutants, especially nitrogen dioxide. The pollutant is associated with lowered success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

The research team from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Shady Grove Fertility in Maryland, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons took seven years, 2000-2007, to look at the first time pregnancy experiences of 7,403 women who elected IVF.

“Numerous studies have consistently shown a relationship between air pollution and human health, ranging from mortality, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions,” said Duanping Liao, Ph.D., professor epidemiology, Penn State. “In the process of searching for the mechanisms responsible for the above associations, we, and others, have reported significant links between air pollution and inflammation and increased blood clotting. These intermediate factors are also associated with reproductive health.”

Researchers examined nitrogen dioxide and fine particles produced from fossil fuels and diesel engine combustion as well as ozone which is credited with producing smog. While the effects of declining air quality on IVF success are variable, elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles were consistently associated with unsuccessful pregnancies.

“Since IVF is well controlled and highly timed process, we have a much better handle on the assessment of the time of exposures to elevated air pollutants in relationship to fertilization, pregnancy and delivery,” Liao said. “Therefore, the IVF population coupled with detailed assessment of air pollution exposures may provide us an ideal situation to investigate the potential health effects of air quality on human reproduction.”

Air pollutant information came from the EPA. With that data they discovered that for the single-pollutant model, exposure to ozone appeared to have a positive effect on the pregnancy if the exposure was before the embryo transfer. Researchers theorize that higher ozone levels mean lower nitrogen dioxide levels. In addition, for the multi-pollutant model, the “positive” effects of ozone were diminished with the addition of nitrogen dioxide.

The results can help narrow down environmental and perhaps lifestyle choices that may effect an unsuccessful pregnancy.

Source: Medical News Today, Penn State


 
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