Some advice for would-be parents for Fertility Week 2017

October 17 / 198

Next week is Fertility Awareness Week in Australia, and Mark Green, an expert in reproductive biology from the School of Biosciences, explains that one of the factors of modern life that affects fertility but which is hard to control is everyday exposure to chemicals.

“In modern life we’re exposed to different chemicals through the products we use, the food we eat, and the air we breathe,” Dr Green says. “A particular group of chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can have negative effects on our reproductive health, and may even reduce our chances of conceiving once we feel the time is right to start a family.” 

Studies have shown that around 95 per cent of people have EDCs present in their bodies, and people who are infertile have higher levels of some EDCs. 

Additionally, among couples who use assisted reproductive technology to create a family, higher levels of some EDCs have been shown to decrease their chance conceiving. 

“While it’s not possible to completely avoid EDCs, there are simple steps everyone can take to reduce exposure to them, and this is especially important for people hoping to have children,” he says.

“By making a few changes or adaptations to our everyday habits we can make a significant impact on our EDC levels.”

These changes include:

washing fruit and vegetables to reduce intake of chemicals 

eating fewer processed and pre-packaged foods 

avoiding handling shiny plastic-covered sales receipts or storing them in your wallet

drinking out of glass or hard plastic bottles rather than soft plastic bottles

heating up food in china or glass containers covered with a paper towel or plate, never in or covered in plastic

avoiding air fresheners, smoke, strong chemicals and heavily perfumed products 

airing your home frequently to reduce the amount of inhalable chemical particles in your living environment

avoiding use of pesticides and herbicides 

limiting use of potent household and garden products - try using gentler ‘green products’ wherever possible

choosing personal care items like shampoos and body washes that are free of parabens.

For more information about the impact of environmental chemicals on reproductive health and other fertility-related topics "> 


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