The number of people who have trouble conceiving has skyrocketed in recent decades with men all around the globe having poorer sperm counts and more women being affected by maladies such as endometriosis or immune incompatibility. Today, one in six couples have difficulty starting their family and will need the help of a fertility specialist to achieve pregnancy.
The European Environment Agency says that this increase in infertility problems and even cancers could be caused by chemicals in the environment that disrupt the endocrine – or hormone – system. As hormones are messengers that tell the body how to function, any alteration in how they behave could have a profound effect on health and well-being.
Chemicals that can disrupt hormones include additives found in food, pharmaceutical products, pesticides, household cleaning products and cosmetics. Some scientists believe that the rise in disorders such as diabetes, cancer and infertility are the result of rising levels of exposure to these products.
A deleterious effect on fertility in wildlife populations has been observed after exposure to pollutants, for instance, male fish have developed female reproductive organs due to anti-androgen drugs such as those used to treat prostate cancer. It is thought that a lesser but nonetheless adverse effect on fertility could be happening in humans.
Exposure to oestrogenic endocrine disruptors is already an accepted risk factor for the development of breast cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other disorders that can affect a woman’s fertility. This is why difficulty in getting pregnant is not a rare occurrence.
Most people will conceive within a year of having regular unprotected sexual intercourse but if you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year (or six months if you’re over 35) you may want to seek advice of a fertility specialist. For private IVF treatment with the latest techniques you can make an appointment direct with our Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Mr Colin Davis at the Excellence in Women’s health clinic in London. Mr Colin is skilled in all types of assisted reproductive technology for both male and female infertility problems. With appropriate treatment, many couples will achieve their dream of parenthood.