Environmental and occupational factors affecting fertility and IVF success
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Reproductive function has been shown to be sensitive to changes in the physical, psychosocial and chemical environments. Although reproductive effects of occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals have been well documented in the literature, the potential effects of chemical contaminants at levels representative of contemporary exposures in the general population are much less certain. Evidence for adverse effects of exposure to environmental contaminants is more conclusive among the lower animals than for humans where considerable controversy remains. In addition to potential reproductive hazards of exposure to environmental contaminants, there is also evidence for adverse reproductive effects of the physical and psychosocial environments. In this review we focus on the difficulties involved in linking exposure to putative hazardous substances in environmental and occupational settings to adverse reproductive outcomes, especially success of IVF procedures. We highlight the plausibility of adverse events through animal and cell studies and the application of these results to the interpretation of human data. We consider both the male and female partners since it is essentially their combined contributions of gametes which may be affected by chemicals, which lead to successful outcomes.
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