Impact of oxidative stress on female fertility

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Purpose of reviewTo review the role of oxidative stress in the context of female fertility.Recent findingsOxidative stress is associated with decreased female fertility in animal and in-vitro models, but no studies to date have directly assessed the relationship in women. Exposures associated with oxidative stress and with evidence to influence the timing and maintenance of a viable pregnancy include pregnancy complications (e.g. preeclampsia), extremes of body weight, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine intake. Intake of antioxidant nutrients, including use of multivitamins, impacts the generation of reactive oxygen species and may play a beneficial role in female fertility.SummaryInfertility is a significant public health problem and diagnosis and treatment are stressful, invasive, and costly. The role of oxidative stress in female fertility is an understudied and compelling area for investigation. Identifying modifiable factors to decrease oxidative stress in the gynecologic environment may be an inexpensive and noninvasive therapy for increasing fertility.

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