As BPA levels increase egg quality plummets, that is the take-home message from a small 2010 study at the University of California which for the first time has studied the connection between egg quality and BPA. The study showed that when levels of BPA doubled there was a 50% reduction in the number of eggs that fertilized normally during IVF.
This is the first study linking BPA directly to egg quality and egg fertilization but not the first to implicate BPA in causing reproductive harm. BPA has previously been found to have deleterious effects on sperm, damaging sperm quality and specific parameters of sperm health such as motility and morphology. Increased miscarriage rates and poor IVF success rates have also been linked to BPA exposure.
BPA is hard to avoid and most of us have it within our bodies but we can work hard to keep exposure levels low. BPA is used to harden plastics and is most well-known as a component of the plastic in reusable water bottles. However, BPA shows up in many other less obvious places in your diet and environment. Becoming familiar with the main sources of this reproductive toxin can help you to keep exposure levels low.
BPA requires some very focused intent to avoid, here are some of the main sources that you may be exposed to:
Canned food and beverages, especially soups and tomato / pasta sauces
Store receipts and dollar bills
Plastic beverage bottles with #7 recycling logo
Some plastic bottles with #3 logo
Polycarbonate plastic bottles
Plastic lined water pipes
Dental fillings and sealants
Food heated in plastic containers
Food packaged in plastic
BPA gets into canned foods and beverages because it is an integral part of the can liners which leach BPA into the can contents, this is known to be a particular problem in canned soups and pasta products in tomato sauce. In some studies even canned green beans had high levels. Here are some tips for keeping your levels low:
Buy tomato sauces in glass jars
Use a stainless steel water bottle and filter your water
Minimally handle store receipts and dollar bills
Have dental work done before you try to conceive
Avoid microwave dinners in plastic
Avoid all beverages in plastic bottles and cans
Always choose glass over plastic when buying sauces, dressings etc.
It is unclear at this point exactly how BPA damages egg quality but a clue may be a previous study has highlighted how BPA can alter egg DNA in mice. If you are trying to conceive keeping your - and your partner's - diet clear of BPA could be one of the key missing links in restoring your fertility and having greater IVF success.
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Science Daily. Increased BPA Exposure Linked To Reduced Egg Quality In Women. Jan 11
Victor Y. Fujimoto, et al. Serum unconjugated bisphenol A concentrations in women may adversely influence oocyte quality during in vitro fertilization. Fertility and Sterility, 2010;