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  • Voltaire Staff

Air pollution scuttles chances of live birth after IVF by 38%, study finds 

Exposure to air pollution can lead to a near 40 per cent reduction in the chance of a live birth after IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment, according to the research presented at the ESHRE 40th Annual Meeting in Amsterdam.


The research claimed that the impact of pollution begins before conception by disturbing the development of eggs.


"We observed that the odds of having a baby after a frozen embryo transfer were more than a third lower for women who were exposed to the highest levels of particulate matter air pollution prior to egg collection, compared with those exposed to the lowest levels," said Dr Sebastian Leathersich, a fertility specialist and gynecologist, according to The Guardian.


Air Pollution becoming a threat to human health has caused 6.7 million deaths in 2019, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is found that microscopic spot particles cross from the lungs into the bloodstream, which then gets transferred to every other organ in the body, leading to heart disease, dementia, gastric cancers, and may also affect intelligence.


"Pollution is harmful to almost all aspects of human health and it’s no surprise to me that reproductive health is also affected," said Leathersich .


The research was conducted over eight years in Perth and  studied 3,659 frozen embryo transfers from 1,836 patients focussing mainly on PM10 (levels of fine particles) exposure in two weeks leading up to egg collection.

The researchers found that the odds of a live birth decreased by 38 per cent compared to lower exposure levels.

"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," Leathersich added.


Researchers are set to study cells directly to understand the negative effect of pollutants on them. Earlier it was found that microscopic particles can damage DNA and cause inflammation in tissues.


Prof Jonathan Grigg, whose group at Queen Mary University of London uncovered evidence that air pollution particles are found in the placenta, put his weight behind the study's findings.

"This study is biologically plausible since it has recently been discovered that inhaled fossil-fuel particles move out of the lung and lodge in organs around the body," he said, as he urged policymakers to continue to reduce traffic emissions.

Image Source: Unsplash




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