BPA, otherwise known as Bisphenol-A, is a chemical present in plastics and other man-made chemicals that we use for products and food & beauty storage, with 7.7 tons being produced annually. Although wonderfully practical, many plastics have developed a negative connotation over the years, as they fill our oceans, creating large islands of trash & waste, killing wildlife and fish, and creating hormonal disruption in our air, soil & water.
But what does this (and potentially other chemicals in plastics) have to do with fertility or IVF treatments? BPA is EVERYWHERE and it’s on the top of the list (and most produced) as one of the most damaging chemicals out there, especially for hormones & reproductive health. Scientists have been studying the effects BPA has one animals and humans for over 20 years, and more recent research coming out of Harvard has confirmed that this chemical damages reproduction, causing an increase in the death-rate of embryos, and negatively effecting implantation during IVF by altering signaling mechanisms that involved hormones that need to be in balance for a successful IVF.
More over, the 20 years of research shows that BPA damages sperm as well, and eggs, negatively effecting egg quality. During an IVF process, BPA may decrease the chances of conception from about 50% chance of it working to about a 20% chance of it working, depending on a woman’s age and the male partner’s age as well, or sperm donor’s age. As a reproductive toxicant, women and men trying to conceive (and women intending to freeze their eggs) should avoid this BPA, and take a look at the plastics they keep their food in, don’t buy plastic bottled water and avoid canned food. Hopefully the governments around the world will begin to regulate this chemical so that everyone can be healthier and avoid this endocrine disrupter in the future. Until then, avoid plastics and canned foods.