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Pill may boost fertility, mercury has opposite effect

30 September 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 177

Long term use of the pill may actually cause women to become pregnant more quickly when they stop taking it, contrary to previously held beliefs that it caused a reduction in fertility.

A new study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, analysed the pregnancy records of 8500 women. In total, 74 per cent of the women became pregnant within six months, 14 per cent between six and 12 months and 12 per cent after one year of trying. The findings indicated that 75 per cent of the women who had been on the pill for five years or more became pregnant within the first six months, while for those who had never taken the pill, the figure was 70.5 per cent. Almost 90 per cent of women who had long term use of the pill became pregnant in a year, compared with 85.4 per cent of women who had never taken the pill.

Another study, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, suggests that high levels of mercury in the blood are associated with both male and female infertility. The mercury levels of 157 infertile couples and 26 fertile couples were studied, and it was found that 35 per cent of the infertile men and 23 per cent of the infertile women had higher than average levels. In the fertile couples, the figures were 15 and 3.8 per cent respectively.

The study took place in Hong Kong, where people consume a lot of seafood. High levels of mercury present in seafood, especially large fish like tuna and swordfish, can cause a build up of the element in the body.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Former Pill users 'get pregnant faster'
The Daily Telegraph |  27 September 2002
Infertility linked to mercury in seafood
BBC News Online |  23 September 2002
Pill may boost fertility
BBC News Online |  26 September 2002
Prolonged use of contraception before a planned pregnancy is associated with a decreased risk of delayed conception
Human Reproduction |  1 October 2002
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