External factors affecting fertility, and how to correct their impact


8-OH-2 deoxyguanosine, epigenetics, hTERT, oxidative stress, infertility, food supplement

Published online: Jun 06 2018

F.H. Comhaire1 , W. Vandenberghe2 , W.A.E. Decleer1,3

1 Fertility Clinic, Weststraat 16-18, 9880 Aalter, Belgium;
2 Lab Protein Science, Proteomics and Epigenetic Signaling, Dept Biomedical Sciences University Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium;
3 IVF Center, AZ Jan Palfijn Gent, Watersportlaan 5, 9000 Gent, Belgium.

Correspondence at: frank@comhaire.com


Fertility of both men and women has been negatively influenced by external factors and life style in recent decennia. Mechanisms of hormone disruption, oxidative damage, and epigenetic DNA changes play a pivotal role in this process.
In Belgium, strict regulations have been imposed to reduce the exposure to xeno-estrogens, which has resulted in a partial recovery of sperm quality. At the other hand, more couples require in vitro fertilisation (IVF) whereby ovarian stimulation may be associated with epigenetic DNA hyper-methylation of follicular cells, and increased risk of carcinogenesis among offspring.
In order to reduce the health risks for the offspring it is recommended to optimize the oxidative, epigenetic and metabolic situation of both parents by means of lifestyle adaptation, and the use of appropriate food supplementation before conception and during pregnancy.