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Trying for a baby? Check your partner’s chemical exposure

Sperm may be harmed by exposure to BPA.

AnnA Rushton

Sperm are quite sensitive little souls and can be affected by so many different factors and the decline of sperm production, and quality, has become a central concern over the last few years.

When wanting to start a family both partners are preferably in optimum health but there has been much discussion on why this recognised decline in the quality and concentration of sperm has been taking place. Now there may be another factor to add in to the mix as, in one of the first human studies of its kind, researchers have found that urinary concentrations of the controversial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, may be related to this problem.

The study recruited 190 men through a fertility clinic and all gave spot urine samples and sperm samples the same day. Subsequently, 78 of the men gave one or two additional urine samples a month apart. Researchers detected BPA in 89 percent of the urine samples, which is a tremendously high figure.  Researchers measured sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm shape and DNA damage in the sperm cell and found that if they compared somebody in the top quartile of exposure with the lowest quartile of exposure, sperm concentration was on average about 23 percent lower in men with the highest BPA.

Their results also suggested a 10 percent increase in sperm DNA damage and are consistent with a previous study suggesting that certain hormones, specifically FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and Inhibin B, are elevated or decreased in relation to BPA, respectively, a pattern consistent with low sperm production and development.

I have written before about other problems associated with BPA and this is certainly only a preliminary study, but it makes sense that it is having this adverse effect. BPA mimics the body’s own hormones and there has been much concern voiced that this may lead to negative health effects.

BPA is most commonly used to make plastics and epoxy resins used in food and beverage cans, and people are exposed primarily through diet. If you are trying to start a family then it certainly makes sense to avoid precooked and prepackaged meals, any tinned or canned food focus on a healthy, natural and preferably organic diet which limits sugar, alcohol, smoking, diet drinks and anything which has additional chemical flavouring and colouring.

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