The results thus showed that urinary concentrations of some commonly used phthalates were "dose-dependently" associated with a lower yield of IVF oocytes, and an increased risk of implantation failure. However, the results did not detect any association between levels of urinary phthalates and rates of fertilisation or embryo development.
Commenting, Dr Souter believes the results "support the hypothesis" that phthalates are widespread in the environment and may well have an adverse effect on female fertility, particularly when tested in the model of IVF.
"We are all primarily exposed to phthalates through inhalation and ingestion," she explained. "It is extremely difficult if not impossible to avoid exposure to phthalates, since they are in so many products." However, she added, exposure can be reduced by the following:
|Contact: Christine Bauquis|
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology