BPA and Your IVF Baby
One of the unexpected consequences of Bisphenol-A (BPA) plastics in the environment is that it disrupts or even prevents in vitro fertilization procedures. In vitro fertilization is an artificial duplication of the natural process that allows a woman to become pregnant.
Bisphenol A is endemic in the environment nowadays, found in everything from plastic bottles and food containers to flame retardants and cosmetics. In cans, these plasticizers serve as liners to prevent metallic taste in food. In detergents and pesticides, BPA acts as a coating to extend shelf life. The chemical, used to harden plastic, is also added to some baby bottles, the water supply pipes used in buildings, and to about half of all dental sealants and composites. In toys, BPA use is inexplicable, but at least 25 percent of hard-shell plastic toys contain it. This, in spite of the fact that BPA is now known to produce “adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife”.
One of the largest sources of BPA for the average consumer is polycarbonate (plastic) food service items (silverware, dishes, and food storage containers). This source, according to a new report from Scientific American, is the one most likely to render those expensive, risky, and uncertain IVF procedures even more uncertain. In fact, notes the article:
“For women trying fertility treatments, research indicates that exposure to one ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol-A, might greatly impair their chances of having a baby.”
To support this claim, the article cites a study of 239 women who engaged in IVF from 2007 to 2012. Among those women whose tests showed the highest “body burden” of BPA, only 17 percent conceived. In contrast, women with low body burdens of the chemical conceived 54 percent of the time after a single procedure.
According to Wade Welshons, an associate professor at the University of Missouri, this is because BPA not only alters cell division in the uterus – essential to forming a viable fetus – but it also alters menstrual cycles and the uterus itself.
So far, in spite of government refusal to face facts, more and more reproductive scientists are beginning to view BPA not only as an “ovarian toxicant”, but as a uterine toxicant as well.
This is particularly bad news for several generations of women who have delayed having children to pursue careers. Once successful, many of these women turn to IVF at 40 or later, hoping for modern medicine to work its magic.
Sadly, the promise of the early days of IVF is gone. Now, women who want to conceive past the optimum baby-making years are warned of the likelihood of failure, told to perform whole-body cleanses, and often end up adopting (a child, or even a pet) as a substitute for a baby that will never be.
When the burden of proof is too large to ignore, governments may begin banning certain plastic compounds. Already, the United States birth rate has fallen from 30 (births per 1000 population) to 13.8, and only part of that is due to working couples, a decline in real wealth in the middle class, and women’s career choices.
We can all do our part to change this situation – forecast in P.D. James “Children of Men” – by choosing BPA-free products that are also recyclable, compostable, sustainable products, from disposable eating utensils, plates, cups and glasses, to environmentally safe and lasting baby bottles, sippy cups and sandwich containers for your grade-schoolers lunchbox.
Let’s take back the Earth. It belonged to us in the first place.
This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Childcare, Health and Safety and was tagged with birth rate, bisphenol-A, BPA, endocrine disruptor, in vitro fertilization, IVF, NON-TOXIC, ovarian toxicant, plastic, plasticizers, pregnancy, SUSTAINABLE, uterine toxicant