The air quality index in New Delhi has reached an all-time high of 451. Pollution is becoming a dangerous threat to the people, not only in India but across the world. Pollution is responsible for the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can cause damage to the cell wall, DNA, cellular organs and also decreased egg and sperm quality. Yes, you read that right! The combination of particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals seem to be the cause of reduced fertility.
Dr Hrishikesh D Pai, Director IVF & Infertility at Fortis La Femme Hospital, Delhi & Secretary General of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India said:
“Air pollutants cause defects during gametogenesis leading to a drop in reproductive capacities in exposed populations (both human and animals).”
“Exposure to ambient levels of air pollutants is associated with low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, neonatal death, and decreased fertility in males.”
“Substances such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can alter the hormone system. The results of a study also indicate that those who breathe in pollutants over time have a higher concentration of free radicals in the blood. This can cause a lower sperm quality even in infertile men.”
Infertility among both men and women is rising steadily
According to the Dr Nandita Palshetkar, Director, IVF and Infertility at Fortis Bloom IVF Center at La Femme GK 2 and Fortis Hospital Gurgaon & President-elect of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India, there are many factors that are responsible for rising infertility among both men and women:
- Weight Issues
“Pollutants and the harmful compounds therein can block the effect of estrogen or stimulate the effect of estrogen, and block the effect of androgen hormones in the body, overall leading to a disruption in reproductive hormonal balance and function. Pollution can also alter the expression of certain genes.”
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