Who had ever thought that consuming the supposedly healthy and nutritious fish can have an adverse effect on fertility. But the latest studies have found a clear link between excess consumption of seafood and infertility. Pollution in sea has caused an increase in the mercury levels of fish and certain species like Shell fish, shark, tuna and mackerel have been placed in the high risk group.
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances. It is known to cause birth defects like autism, ADHD and epilepsy in children and impotency, reduction of sperm count and motility in men and inhibit fertility in women. It may cause disturbance in menstrual cycles and can even lead to abortions.
A research conducted on 150 infertile couples in Hong Kong proved this point. Tests carried out on these couples proved that they had high level of mercury than the normal fertile couples.
According to FDA guidelines no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly by pregnant women and those women who are planning to conceive.
Amalgam dental filling has been also attributed as a cause for mercury poisoning. Mercury is passed on to the fetus through placenta and even breast milk can have traces.
Fish is rich in omega 3 and zinc , and thus helps , but it should be taken in moderation, maximum 12 oz per week only. So it is wiser to stick with low mercury fish like Anchovies, Butterfish, Catfish, Clam, Crab (Domestic), Herring, Mackerel (N Atlantic, Chub), Oysters, Salmon, Sardines etc.
Consuming fish in moderation and opting for small river fishes which does not mercury content can decrease the risk of infertility.
Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre