Connection Between Pollution and Infertility Requires More Research, According to Head of REI

Mar 3, 2021

Factories with smoke and air pollution coming out of chimneysA recent study completed by scientists in China of 18,000 couples has found that exposure to air pollution significantly increases the risk of infertility. The analysis that was published in the Environment International journal, found that "those living with moderately higher levels of small-particle pollution had a 20% greater risk of infertility, defined as not becoming pregnant within a year of trying."

However, according to Dr. Kimberly Liu, Head of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, risks of air pollution affecting fertility may be different in Canada when compared to other countries such as China. 

"This study of couples who have recently conceived or were trying to conceive in China showed a significant decrease in chances of pregnancy in those who reside is areas with high concentrations of air pollutants, measured as airborne particulate matter less than 2.5 μm," said Dr. Liu. "Approximately 30% of infertility is unexplained, although we know that factors such as weight and smoking may contribute to infertility. This study suggests that air pollution may also be a contributing factor to unexplained infertility and this is one of the few research studies on this topic. Further research would be needed to evaluate the significance of this study for Canadian patients, as results may not be translated into a Canadian population which may be exposed to different levels of air pollution than in this study."

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