If you have begun taking extra care with what you eat while trying to conceive you may want to take a closer look at the pots and pans that you cook your food in too. A study published in Human Reproduction has shown that preparing your food in non-stick cookware could significantly increase the time it takes to conceive. Female infertility can be caused - and prolonged - by your cookware choices.
University of California researchers examined the blood of 1,240 women who had conceived between 1996 and 2002. They discovered that those with higher blood levels of the chemicals found in non-stick coatings called PFOAs (perfluorooctanoate) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulphonate) took much longer to become pregnant.
These ubiquitous chemicals are found in other products that you should be wary of too. Waterproof clothing, stain-proof coatings and non-stick fast-food packaging contain the same fertility disrupting environmental toxins, especially microwave popcorn bags.
It may be wise to keep non-stick pans away from your guy too! A recent study of 105 men showed a connection between different PFAA (perfluoroalkyl acids) chemicals used in non-stick coatings and male infertility, especially low sperm counts and poor sperm quality. All men had some levels of the PFAAs but the numbers of normal good quality sperm were more than halved in men with the highest levels. The study concluded that:
"High PFAA levels were associated with fewer normal sperm. Thus, high levels of PFAAs may contribute to the otherwise unexplained low semen quality often seen in young men."
It's important to keep avoiding these compounds after your conceive too as they have been linked to growth impairment of babies during pregnancy and a variety of other undesirable effects.
Good choices for alternate cookware include stainless steel, glass and when you really need non-stick try cast iron. If you season cast-iron well - and often - it is a very great non-stick alternative. To avoid other sources of PFOAs make your own popcorn either in an air-popper or a pan and avoid stain resistant coatings on carpets and furniture. Stain-proofing and waterproofing sprays are also hazardous and best avoided.
Knowing that the chemicals you come into contact with every day build up in your body, think about the food that you eat, what is your food wrapped in, what is it cooked in? When you are trying to conceive, limiting your exposure to unnatural chemicals may help you to conceive more speedily and have a healthier baby.
Human Reproduction, online Jan 28
Environmental Health Perspectives, Do perfluoroalkyl compounds impair human semen quality, Joensen et al, online Mar 02, 09