Everything you need to know about conception and pregnancy, clinically validated and written by experts.


Household items that could affect fertility

While trying to conceive, it is important to pay attention to many of the household products you take for granted — they can contain certain chemicals that could negatively influence fertility if you're exposed too often. Take a look at some of these basic fertility-busting products and the ways you can reduce your use of them.

  • Laundry detergent: Chemicals called phthalates, used in various products to make smells last longer, are often found in the synthetic fragrances of common laundry detergents. These products can disrupt important hormones that cause ovulation, so try more natural brands instead. Other chemicals found in laundry detergents can lead to reduced sperm count — stick to vegetable-based products to minimize chemical presence.
  • Glass and hard-surface cleaners: These products usually contain solvents that can cut through grease, and even through your skin - not to mention your fertility. Make sure to wear gloves while handling these products and try to cut down on your usage.
  • Paints and varnishes: While most paints no longer contain lead, many still contain glycol ether, which can disrupt your menstrual cycle and decrease sperm quality. If you’re planning to paint while trying to conceive, check to make sure none of the products contain glycol ether.
  • Antibacterial dishwashing liquid: Any soap that contains the chemical triclosan should be off-limits to men and women trying to conceive. The antibacterial component of these products can cause endocrine (hormone) disruption and also decrease sperm count, so try for more natural soaps instead.
  • Canned foods: One of the chemicals found in hard plastics, called bisphenol A (BPA), lowers the number of viable eggs in women and reduces sperm count in men. You may want to steer clear of most microwave-safe food containers and aluminum cans with recycling numbers 3 and 7, and wash your hands before consuming food from cans.

  • S Cordier, L Multigner. "Occupational exposure to glycol ethers and ovarian function." Occup Environ Med. 62(8):507-508. Web. 2005.
  • PC Chen, GY Hsieh, JD Wang, TJ Cheng. "Prolonged time to pregnancy in female workers exposed to ethylene glycol ethers in semiconductor manufacturing." Epidemiology. 13(2)191-6. Web. Mar 2002. 
  • "Triclosan and Triclocarban." BreastCancerFund. Breast Cancer Fund, Mar 12 2010. Web.
  • Nicole Greenfield. "The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps." NRDC. Natural Resources Defense Council, Mar 15 2016. Web. 
  • Alexandra Scranton. "Dirty Secrets: What's Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?" WomensVoices. Women's Voices for the Earth, Nov 2011. Web.
  • Andre Marques-Pinto and Davide Carvalho. "Human infertility: are endocrine disruptors to blame?" Endocrine Connections. Bioscientifica Ltd, 2013. Web.