Ibuprofen 'a threat to fertility of baby girls' in early pregnancy

Pregnant women could be unwittingly damaging the future fertility of their unborn daughters if they take Ibuprofen in the early weeks of gestation, a new study has indicated. 

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, along with colleagues from France and Denmark, have carried out studies on the cells of aborted fetuses in the laboratory and established that doses of Ibuprofen had crossed the placental barrier.

This would support the claims of studies using rodents that taking painkillers can have an impact on fertility by reducing the number of eggs ovaries will produce. 

If correct, it means that if expectant mothers take Ibuprofen in the first three months of pregnancy, this might make it harder for any daughters to produce fertile eggs when they reach sexual maturity. With around 30 per cent of women known to take Ibuprofen during pregnancy, this may have a widespread impact on female fertility in Britain.

Commenting on the study, co-author Rod Mitchell said: "We know that fertility rates have declined over recent years, and essentially, we are looking for a potential reason why that might be the case.

"Because it is a relatively recent decline, it is felt that environmental factors [including painkillers] in addition to societal factors might have a role to play."

However, not every expert is convinced. Speaking to the Guardian, professor of reproductive physiology at the University of Cambridge William Colledge said it would be a "big step" to extrapolate from a lab experiment what might happen in a womb. He also noted that as women only release around one egg each month anyway, "you can cope with the loss of quite a lot of these eggs".

Ibuprofen has also been linked in studies with disruption of male hormones. Subject to further studies, this may lead to recommendations that couples trying to conceive or mothers in early pregnancy avoid using the painkiller.

Women in the UK are already officially advised to prefer other painkillers to Ibuprofen and not take the latter drug after 30 weeks of pregnancy.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801844600-ADNFCR