May 2022

What chemicals should you be worried about when trying to conceive? 

When trying to conceive it is well known that there could be many outlying factors affecting your ability to conceive. One of these factors could be chemicals that you encounter in your everyday life. What are these chemicals? What harmful ingredients should you avoid when buying food and other products? Could these chemicals impact your ability to produce high-quality embryos?


What are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)?

Endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs are chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormones. It is important to look into what may impact your fertility especially if you are considering IVF; a procedure that heavily impacts your hormones. Our hormones are regulated by our body's endocrine system. Low doses of EDCs can be unsafe as our endocrine system is delicate and even small amounts of EDCs can disrupt one’s endocrine system. EDCs can lead to improper hormone production in women which can impact a woman’s fertility. Women’s hormonal balance is important for fertility and EDCs can damage a woman’s chances of pregnancy. [1]




What chemicals do you encounter daily that may be dangerous?

EDCs can be found in many products and foods you may encounter every day. EDCs can be found in:

  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Liners of metal food cans
  • Food
  • Toys
  • Cosmetics 
  • Pesticides


Some common EDCs are:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is often found in plastic products. Look for BPA-free stickers on plastic products.
  • Phthalates which are chemicals used to make plastic more flexible. This chemical can be found in cosmetics, toys, and food packaging.
  • Phytoestrogens, this chemical naturally occurs in plants that have hormone-level activity. This chemical can sometimes be found in tofu and soy milk.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), this chemical may be found in household flame retardants including furniture foam.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are chemicals that may be found in hydraulic fluids such as lubricants.
  • Triclosan, this chemical may be in some hygiene products such as body wash. [2]


How can you reduce your risk of exposure to chemicals?

There are many simple steps that you can take to avoid EDCs. Washing your hands often and cleaning your home will reduce your exposure to chemicals that may have found their way onto your hands and into your home. Avoiding products with fragrances is important, as many of these products contain EDCs. look for fragrance-free products. Reduce your use of plastic, this will not only help the environment but will also reduce your exposure to EDCs. Use stainless steel and glass instead of plastic when possible. Avoid canned food as well, cans may have the chemical BPA to keep the food fresh. When purchasing pre-made food, look for frozen or packaged food as opposed to canned food. Pesticides in food can also have EDCs. Wash your food and buy organic when possible. 

It is important to do your best to avoid EDCs whether you are trying to conceive or not. If you are trying to conceive, look at the products in your home and assess how safe they may be. Even if EDCs don’t impact your fertility, these chemicals are harmful to anyone, especially pregnant women and babies. Our bodies are a delicate balance and harmful chemicals can have many adverse impacts on us, including fertility. Take care of yourself and manage your health by being cautious about what chemicals you may be encountering unknowingly. [3]