Look for Drugs and Conditions

Representative image

Study Links Air Pollution to Lower IVF Success Rates

A recent study has found that exposure to air pollution can significantly reduce the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF), lowering the odds of a live birth by nearly 40% in women heavily exposed to particle pollution. This startling discovery sheds light on the detrimental impact of air pollution on reproductive health, particularly on the quality of eggs during IVF procedures.

The study, led by Dr. Sebastian Leathersich, a gynecologist at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Subiaco, Australia, revealed that high levels of particle pollution in the two weeks preceding egg collection for IVF significantly diminished the likelihood of achieving a live birth. "These findings suggest that pollution negatively affects the quality of the eggs, not just the early stages of pregnancy, which is a distinction that has not been previously reported," Dr. Leathersich stated in a news release.

IVF involves fertilizing a woman’s eggs with a man’s sperm in a laboratory, followed by transferring the resulting embryo back into the woman for development. For this study, researchers analyzed nearly 3,700 frozen embryo transfers from more than 1,800 patients over an eight-year period in Perth, Australia. They assessed the concentrations of air pollutants at various intervals—24 hours, two weeks, four weeks, and three months—prior to egg retrieval to understand how pollution impacts IVF success.

The study found that the heaviest exposure to PM10 particulate pollution decreased the odds of a live birth by 38%. PM10 particles, which are typically 10 micrometers in diameter, can include dust, pollen, and mold. Additionally, increasing exposure to finer PM2.5 particle pollution, commonly produced by vehicle exhaust and industrial activities, was also linked to lower odds of a live birth.

Notably, these adverse effects were observed despite the generally excellent air quality during the study period. PM10 and PM2.5 levels exceeded World Health Organization guidelines on only 0.4% and 4.5% of the study days, respectively. "Climate change and pollution remain the greatest threats to human health, and human reproduction is not immune to this," Dr. Leathersich emphasized. "Even in a part of the world with exceptional air quality, there is a strong negative correlation between the amount of air pollution and the live birth rate in frozen embryo transfer cycles. Minimizing pollutant exposure must be a key public health priority."

The findings were presented at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam. Dr. Anis Feki, the society's chair-elect, highlighted the significance of the study, noting, "This important study highlights a significant link between air pollution and lower IVF success rates, with a notable reduction in live births associated with higher particulate matter exposure before oocyte retrieval. These findings emphasize the need for ongoing attention to environmental factors in reproductive health."

The full study also appears in the journal Human Reproduction, contributing to a growing body of evidence that underscores the urgent need for addressing environmental pollutants to protect and improve reproductive health outcomes. 

Be first to post your comments

Post your comment

Related Articles

Ad 5