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Glamour Magazine: Effects of Household Products on Your Fertility

When it comes to trying to conceive, many people wonder if environmental factors affect fertility.

Therefore, Glamour turned to SGF’s own Eric Levens, M.D., of Shady Grove Fertility’s Annandale, VA office, to help answer the question, “Do household products affect your fertility?” and comment on new research published by Environmental Health Perspectives, that suggests the products around your house could be having a negative effect on your fertility.

What are PFRs?

According to this study, researchers tested the urine of 211 women who were going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment for the presence of organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs). PFRs are chemicals that can be found in various sources, such as households that have products with polyurethane foam, cleaning products, cushioned furniture, car seats, mattress pads, a variety of nail polishes, and even building insulation.

Results of the Study

Overall, women with a higher concentration of PFRs were 38 percent less likely to have a successful, live birth. According to the study, if there were higher concentrations of PFRs present, that woman’s chances of achieving fertilization was 10 percent less likely. In addition, women with a higher concentration of PFRs had their chances of having a successful embryo implant drop by 31 percent, and confirmed pregnancies through a heartbeat on an ultrasound drop by 41 percent.

Dr. Levens stated that there is research that PRFs can affect men’s sperm count as well. It is suggested that PFRs can lower sperm count. He expresses that PFRs are hard to bypass. “The problem is that they are ubiquitous—and as a result difficult to avoid,” he states.

Since they are so common, it is often difficult to know when you are coming in contact with them. It is nearly impossible to avoid every single source of PFRs; however, there are techniques you can use to come across them less.

What You Can Do

Switching to baking soda and vinegar to clean your home could help you avoid the PFRs in common cleaning products. However, since you cannot avoid PFRs completely, there isn’t a lot to worry about. Researchers believe that PFRs are not a large factor contributing to infertility, but it is just something to keep in mind.


To learn more about factors that impact fertility or to schedule an appointment with one of our 41 reproductive endocrinologists, please call 1-877-971-7755 or click here to complete this brief online form.


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