Microplastics and fertility: a new threat

An innovative study has uncovered an alarming threat: the presence of microplastics in the ovarian follicular fluids of women undergoing Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART)

This research, led by Luigi Montano and a multidisciplinary team of experts, found an average concentration of 2191 particles per milliliter of nano and microplastics with a mean diameter of 4.48 microns, sizes below 10 microns.

The investigation revealed a correlation between the concentration of these microplastics and parameters linked to ovarian function. Montano expresses serious concern over documented negative effects on female reproductive health in animals. He highlights the potential direct damage caused by microplastics through mechanisms such as oxidative stress.

Titled “First evidence of microplastics in human ovarian follicular fluid: an emerging threat to female fertility,” this research was conducted through collaboration between ASL Salerno, the University of Salerno, the University Federico II of Naples, the University of Catania, the Gentile Research Center of Gragnano, and the Hera Center of Catania.

The findings raise critical questions regarding the impact of microplastics on female fertility. Further studies will be needed to fully understand the implications of this discovery and develop strategies to address this potential threat to reproductive health.

Urgency for Intervention

The identification of microscopic plastic particles in ovarian follicular fluid raises serious concerns regarding the integrity of the genetic heritage transmitted to future generations. The authors emphasize the urgent need to address plastic contamination as a priority issue. These microscopic particles, acting as carriers for various toxic substances, pose a substantial threat to human reproductive health. This discovery underscores the crucial importance of timely intervention to mitigate the risks associated with plastic pollution.

National Congress of the Italian Society of Human Reproduction

The 7th National Congress of the Italian Society of Human Reproduction, scheduled from April 11th to 13th in Bari, has placed emphasis on this fundamental issue. Experts have also addressed other relevant issues, including the postponement of the implementation of Essential Levels of Care (LEA) for assisted reproduction until January 1, 2025. Paola Piomboni, President of SIRU, highlights that in Italy, “infertility is a widespread issue affecting nearly one in five couples of childbearing age,” and that the journey of infertile couples will be at the center of debate and discussion during the event.


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