Fertility can be improved in humans by ovarian stimulation with gonadotropin injections. It is evident that fertility even with this treatment is dependent on many factors. Evidence is accumulating that chemicals from the environment alter human fertility. For example, heavy metals have the ability to be endocrine-disrupting chemicals which alter reproduction. Endocrine disruptors reduce fertility by interfering with hormone levels.
This was a study of women undergoing ovarian hyperstimulation for in vitro fertilization treatment (IVT). Thirty women received hair analysis mineral testing prior to one cycle of IVT. They had blood drawn for testing at the time of the hair analysis and were followed regarding the results of the IVT (as tested by follicle* and oocyte** counts).
This study tested mercury, zinc and selenium in the hair analysis. The outcomes of whether the women became pregnant were compared to those heavy metal levels. Zinc and selenium correlated positively with egg production after ovarian stimulation, while selenium levels correlated with follicle number. Mercury levels correlated negatively with egg production after ovarian stimulation.
Hair analysis is a good way to evaluate long-term exposure to minerals. Hair analysis results of mercury, zinc and selenium do not correlate with results of blood testing. Blood tests for these minerals respond quickly to short-term exposure and reflect poorly the long-term exposure to the same elements. For example, mercury is removed from the blood in a few days after exposure, so delayed blood testing could be negative. Hair analysis may reveal the mercury exposure even after several months.
CONCLUSION: Mercury, as detected on hair analysis, has a negative effect while zinc and selenium have positive effects on fertility after ovarian stimulation for IVF. Hair analysis is verified as being a good way to study long-term contact with endocrine disruptors and the general nutritional status of the patients.
NOTES: A mature egg is an oocyte**. A follicle* is a structure where an oocyte develops. These are two ways that fertility can be evaluated after doses of gonadotropin. These are hormones secreted from the pituitary in the brain which can alter ovary activity. Injections can be given which increase the chance of pregnancy.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals and elements found in the environment which can interfere with hormones and reduce fertility.
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Summary 954. nutrientmedicine.