7 Ways Your Home Could Be Making You Infertile
Home is Where the Heart Is. Most of us believe this in one way or another. Our homes are the place where we retreat from the world, spend time with our beloved and should be one of our greatest sources of peace and health. Unfortunately, the modern home is laden with silent enemies, many of which are linked to infertility.
Making changes in your home and lifestyle can be the very thing you need to conceive a healthy and thriving baby. And, just think, the same changes you make to increase your chances of fertility will also increase your baby’s chances of growing up healthy and strong.
7 Causes of Infertility That Live in Your Home “Sweet” Home
- The paint on your walls, ceiling, trim, etc. Many mainstream paints, finishes and varnishes contain a chemical called glycol ether. Not only is it toxic, it can disrupt a woman’s natural hormone cycle and also has a negative effect on sperm morphology. Purchase low- and no-VOC paints and finishes for home projects, especially when painting the nursery!
- Flame retardant furnishings. The idea was to make you safer by adding flame-retardant chemicals to household furnishings notorious for catching on fire: mattresses, bedding, couches, window curtains, etc. The chemicals used in furnishings made prior to 2004 are harmful to male and female fertility. Even so, we recommend purchasing products made from organic natural fibers just to be safe, and taking common sense precautions to prevent these items from catching on fire.
- Laptops. The heat generated from laptops, when used on the male lap, keep scrotal temperature consistently higher than normal. There is a good chance the continuously elevated temperatures can affect sperm count and motility. We recommend using a lap table of some kind to keep the heat away from the proverbial “family jewels.”
- Antibacterial soaps. What a hype this trend has been. The active bacterial killer is a chemical called triclosan. It was meant to protect people in healthcare and other related fields who were exposed to more harmful bacteria on a regular basis and who needed to avoid contaminating sterile surfaces and patients with weakened immune systems. Now, a nation of people are using it all day long and, besides causing cancer (most notably human breast cancer!), it has also been linked to infertility. Go back to using good ol’ fashioned, eco-friendly soaps and keep the probiotics around to help your body fight the bad guys.
- Unfiltered tap water. Unfortunately, all the chemicals in our soaps, lotions, hair and make-up products that make their way into our drains, combined with the birth control pills and other pharmaceuticals regularly flushed down the toilet, are having a noticeable effect on groundwater and drinking water supplies. This conglomeration of chemicals has a name: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care as Pollutants (PPCP). It will take time to know the exact effects all this chemical build-up is having in the humans who ingest it all via an unfiltered tap water cocktail. However, we do know it’s causing male fish to have female characteristics. Seems like some pretty clear foreshadowing for us, so we recommend getting a high-quality filter, or buying filtered water in reusable BPA-free containers (See #6) so you aren’t part of the test population when the research results are coming in.
- Bisphenol A (BPA). Do you remember in math class, how teachers would have those wrap-around-the-room posters with pi π (3.14) in its full form, and the number just kept going and going? Well, that’s sort what a list of things that contain BPAs look like: plastics, interior lining of canned foods, water bottles, any children’s toys and household products made from synthetic materials that don’t have a BPA-free label, etc. It’s in just about everything. The best way to avoid these nasty, proven endocrine disruptors that reduce a female’s viable egg count and harm male sperm count and motility is to eat as much fresh and unprocessed foods as possible. Go back to the basics when it comes to food packaging. If that isn’t going to happen in your household, make sure every plastic- and plastic-related storage/food container is specifically labeled BPA-free.
- Teflon (non-stick) kitchenware. This was one of the greatest inventions ever. All of a sudden, we could all make omelets with the flick of our wrists, just like they do on TV. Then, we noticed it killed parakeets. Oh well, just move the birds in the other room and they’ll be fine. Only, then they noticed that the active non-stick chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), wasn’t so great in humans either. Like BPAs, PFOAs are insidious chemicals; in addition to non-stick pans, it’s often used for canned food linings, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes (we’ll deal with the cheese stuck on the cardboard, thanks anyway!), microwave popcorn bags, and so on. Women who had higher-than normal levels of it in their system often have fertility problems and when they do conceive, their babies are slower to reach key developmental milestones. A cast iron pan with a ceramic lining and a dab of butter or oil will do almost as well, and the only eggs you’ll have to worry about are the ones you’re cooking on the stovetop.
Don’t let your sacred sanctum be the demise of your fertility. Take action to replace potential hazards ASAP. It’s good for you, it’s good for your baby and it’s good for planet earth.
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.