Does BPA affect fertility?

August 8, 2013

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been making headlines for potential connections with neurologic conditions, obesity, and myriad other health concerns. A recent study published in Human Reproduction looked at whether BPA had a negative impact on fertility.

 

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been making headlines for potential connections with neurologic conditions, obesity, and myriad other health concerns. A recent study published in Human Reproduction looked at whether BPA had a negative impact on fertility.

The study drew from patients undergoing IVF/ICSI at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from March 2011 to April 2013. Only oocytes from one cycle per patient were included. If a cycle that resulted in two or more germinal-vesicle stage oocytes was included, one oocyte was randomly assigned to a non-BPA culture for 30 hours and the other oocytes were added to a medium with BPA (20,200 ng/mL or 20 μg/mL). The oocytes were examined with immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy and labeled for tubulin, actin, and chromatin. All specimens were assessed for meiotic stage (n = 292) and those at metaphase II (n =175) were given further classifications according to spindle configurations and chromosome alignment.

The study’s authors found that that as the amount of BPA an oocyte increased, the less likely it was to progress to metaphase II (P= 0.002). Exposed specimens also were more likely to have degenerated (P = 0.01) or undergone spontaneous activation (P = 0.007). BPA-exposed oocytes that reached metaphase II showed a dose-dependent trend for decreased incidence of bipolar spindles (P < 0.0001) and aligned chromosomes (P = 0.002).

The authors did caution that further study is required because they were only able to study a limited sample of oocytes that had been clinically discarded and had failed to mature in vivo despite being exposed to human chorionic gonadotropin.

 

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