A new study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) has revealed that PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) found in the environment are associated with the failure of fertilized embryos to implant in the uterus after in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
PCBs were banned in the United States and other developed countries in the 1970s after their toxic effects were discovered, but they are still in the environment today due to prior widespread use and resistance to breakdown. Exposure to PCBs occurs mainly through contaminated foods (e.g. fish; animals which are fed contaminated feed) and is associated with adverse health effects, including negative impacts on reproduction and the nervous system.
In the study, among 765 women and 827 IVF cycles, there were 286 live births and 530 pregnancy losses— 229 implantation failures, 177 very early miscarriages (or “chemical pregnancies”), and 124 later miscarriages.
The researchers found that implantation failure was twice as likely in women with the highest exposures to PCB-153 and total PCBs than in women with the lowest exposures. The odds of a live birth were reduced more than 40% in these women.
Environmental toxins, bad lifestyle habits and underlying health conditions may affect fertility. If you are planning to become pregnant, or if you are currently undergoing fertility treatment and would like to improve your chances of success, Dr. Yik can help you prepare your body for a healthy conception and pregnancy.
SOURCE: Environmental Health Perspectives