New study reveals link between shift work and infertility

9 July 2013

New healthcare research has revealed a link between shift work and fertility problems. Rotating shifts have been found to disrupt menstrual cycles and increase women’s chances of having a miscarriage.

Lead researcher, Dr Linden Stocker of the University of Southampton, found that women who work irregular shifts have a 33 per cent higher rate of menstrual disruption than those who work regular hours. Additionally, fertility rates in shift workers is reduced by as much as 80 per cent. Compared to women who work nights on a regular basis, those who operate on a rotating schedule are more prone to infertility. However, researchers did find that night workers still have a 29 per cent increased rate of miscarriage.

Poor sleep hygiene and disrupted body clocks are to blame, according to Dr Stocker. Infertility treatment can help, in addition to a more regular work schedule.

“More friendly shift patterns, with less impact on circadian rhythm, could be adopted where practical,” Dr Stocker said. “If replicated, our findings have implications for women attempting to become pregnant, as well as for their employers.”

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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