Air Pollution Exposure Linked to IVF Failures in New Study

Air Pollution Exposure Linked to IVF Failures in New Study
Air Pollution Exposure Linked to IVF Failures in New Study. Credit | Getty images

United States – New studies suggest that exposure to air pollution can greatly reduce the chances of a successful IVF and therefore fewer live births.

Impact on IVF Success

The study revealed that women heavily exposed to particle pollution 14 days before egg collection for IVF had about a 40 percent lower chance of a live birth compared to those with the least exposure. Dr. Sebastian Leathersich, a gynecologist at the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Subiaco, Australia, noted, “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.”

Study Details

IVF involves using women’s eggs that are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then placed back to the woman for further development in the uterus. The study involved more than 1,800 patients who received 3,700 frozen thawed embryo transfer (FTCs) cycles in Perth, Australia across eight years, as reported by HealthDay.

Pollution’s Effect on Live Birth Rates

Researchers observed air pollutant levels at intervals of 24 hours, two weeks, four weeks, and three months before egg retrieval to understand pollution’s influence on IVF success rates. They found that exposure to PM10 particulate pollution reduced the probability of delivering a live-born child by 38 percent. PM10 particles, with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less, include dust, pollen, and mold. High exposure to finer PM2.5 particles, typically emitted from automobile fumes and industrial processes, also predicted a lower likelihood of live birth.

Public Health Implications

Despite the generally excellent air quality during the study period, with PM10 and PM2.5 levels exceeding WHO guidelines only 0.4 percent and 4.5 percent of the time, respectively, the negative impact of air pollution on IVF success was evident. Dr. Leathersich emphasized, “Climate change and pollution remain the greatest threats to human health, and human reproduction is not immune to this. Minimizing pollutant exposure must be a key public health priority.”

Expert Commentary

These results were presented at the recent meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology held in Amsterdam. Said Dr Anis Feki, the society’s chair-elect, “This important study shows a relationship between airborne pollution and lower IVF success, which drops live birth by half where particulate matter raised before oocyte collection; these establishes the importance of a ongoing focus on the impact of environment on fertility, as reported by HealthDay.