• Thu, Nov 15 2012

Unbearable: Guess What? A Bunch Of Chemicals You Can’t Avoid Might Be To Blame For Your Infertility

chemicalsHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

There’s a new thing to blame for your infertility! Instead of obsessing about your diet, trying to balance your exercise routine perfectly between too much and not enough, and making sure that you’re having sex at the exact right time in the exact right way, here’s a new thing for trying to conceive couples to start worrying about. Common chemicals, ones so common as to be completely unavoidable, may be part of the problem for infertile couples.

Does that make anyone feel any better? No? Me neither. But I suppose I should share the information with you anyways.

These chemicals are called persistent organochlorine pollutants and they can be found in the soil, water, and food supply. They stick around in the environment for decades. These chemicals can be stored in the fatty tissue of animals. They’re found in materials used to make clothing, furniture, adhesives, and food packaging. They’re almost impossible to avoid and there’s nothing we can do to decrease the levels of these chemicals already in our blood.

But, just an FYI, men and women with high levels of these chemicals in their blood stream take a longer time conceiving a child. Not just by a little bit either. Researchers said of the chemicals, “They make it about 20% harder for these couples each cycle. The magnitude is comparable to cigarette smoking.” The chemicals even make it harder to get pregnant with assisted reproductive technology.

The one piece of advice researchers give is that those trying to conceive try to cut all excess fat from the meat they consume.

Well alright then. I appreciate that these researchers are looking into these problems. If there’s a chemical that makes it harder for people to have children, I hope we’re going to find ways to limit that chemical’s use. This research feels like a great first step towards replacing products and substances that might be dangerous for us. Honestly, I’m thankful for the people who are much smarter than me, working hard to expose things that could be harmful.

I just have to admit that after I feel thankful for the knowledge and hopeful for the future research, I feel a little depressed as well. There’s this big, bad amorphous group of stuff out there making things harder, and there’s so little I can do to protect myself from it. So much of the frustration surrounding infertility is in the helplessness. And now, I know one more way that my lady parts might be messed up, but that I can’t do much about.

Studies like this are important for lots of public safety reasons. But they’re also reminders that infertility is a problem without a whole lot of solutions. It’s not the researchers faults, but I can’t help resenting the news just a bit every time I’m told of another study showing me another something I can’t control and just how it’s hurting my chances of having another baby.

(Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

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