Air Pollution and Infertility

Air Pollution Associated With Infertility in Women?

Increasing air pollution is posing a huge threat to the health of the people across the world. Release of harmful gases indoors or outdoors can increasingly contribute to bad air quality. Air pollution not only increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, respiratory infections and lung cancer, but is accountable for 1.5 million deaths each year, in India alone.

India has the highest mortality rate from asthma and chronic respiratory diseases, across the world.  Nearly 2.2 million children in the country are living with damaged lungs because of bad air quality. Also, earlier studies concluded that pollution can reduce the intelligence quotient in a child and raise their chances of developing diabetes, autism and epilepsy.

According to a report, released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the quality of air in Delhi is the worst among 1,600 cities across the world. In a study, the researchers found that women who are highly exposed to polluted air are likely to face greater odds of fertility problems as compared to females who reside in a much cleaner environment. The research aimed at evaluating any association between the inhaled air and ability to conceive. The team of researchers recruited over 36,000 women and studied them from 1993 through 2003.

The investigators analysed data on particulate matter (a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air) and emphasized on primary infertility (not being able to conceive after a minimum of one year of attempting to do so through unprotected intercourse), as well as secondary infertility  (inability to become pregnant subsequent to the birth of one or more biological children).

Nearly 2,500 cases of infertility were reported over the course of the study. The women whose homes were close to a major roadway possessed 11% higher risk of facing any infertility issue, 5% greater odds of having primary infertility and 21% more chances of having secondary infertility as relative to the females who lived at a distance from a highway. The findings were highlighted in the journal Human Reproduction.

The rise in air pollution has significantly contributed to a decline in the fertility rate among women in India. The other factors contributing to female infertility include damage caused to the fallopian tubes carrying eggs from ovaries to the uterus from pelvic infections; uterine and cervical problems and hormonal issues. However, it can be treated through, laparoscopy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and egg donation including others.

Source : Health Daily Digest (via syndication)

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