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06-06-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Toxic trace metals may affect IVF success


Free abstract

MedWire News: Research results suggest that the presence of lead (Pb) in the urine of female IVF patients may negatively affect oocyte maturation rates.

Furthermore, the presence of cadmium (Cd) in the urine of female patients and their male partners may have an important but contradictory role in oocyte fertilization.

Michael Bloom (State University of New York, USA) and colleagues investigated potential associations between blood and urine levels of Pb, Cd, and mercury (Hg) and oocyte maturation and fertilization, in 15 female patients and their 15 male partners.

After adjustment for potential confounders including age and cigarette smoking, analysis revealed a 75 percent reduction in the probability for successful oocyte maturity with every 1 mc/l increase of Pb in the blood samples of the women.

No further associations were observed for Pb, and none at all were observed for Hg.

Of note, the presence of Cd in the urine of the women increased the probability of oocyte fertilization by 41 percent with each mc/l increase. However, every mc/l increase of Cd in the urine of their male partners was associated with an 81 percent decrease in the probability of fertilization.

“These provocative but preliminary results merit a larger comprehensive study,” conclude Bloom et al.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy