Common painkillers could put fertility at risk, study warns

The study was carried out by the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Reproductive Health. File picture: comp

The study was carried out by the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Reproductive Health. File picture: comp

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PREGNANT women who take common painkillers could unwittingly be putting the fertility of their daughters at risk, a study suggests.

Tests on rats found that when a mother was given paracetamol or the aspirin-like drug indomethacin, her female offspring had fewer eggs than those not exposed to the medicines.

They also had smaller ovaries and gave birth to smaller litters of babies.

Males were affected too, having fewer cells that give rise to sperm later in life. However, their fertility recovered to normal levels by the time they matured into adults.

Despite the fact that foetal development is slower in humans than in rats, scientists say the findings are significant given the similarity of the two species’ reproductive systems.

Professor Richard Sharpe, from the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, who co-led the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, said: “It’s important to remember that this study was conducted in rats, not humans. However, there are many similarities between reproductive systems.”