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Soy protein renders womb unsuitable for pregnancy

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, January 29, 2009 | 0 comments

A soy protein long known to affect fertility can change how pregnancies start and progress in female mice treated with it as newbornsA soy protein, genistein, long known to affect fertility can change how pregnancies start and progress in female mice treated with it as newborns. The changes make it harder for fertilized eggs to implant and grow, possibly contributing to infertility. The effects were observed at levels comparable to those experienced by human infants feeding on soy formula.


What does it mean?
Genistein affects the uterus and the reproductive tract -- not the egg quality -- of the adult female mice that were treated with the soy phytoestrogen while in the womb. Fertilized embryos developing in the treated females did not attach and thrive as well as embryos in the control animals, even though eggs from genistein-treated females were as healthy as those from their unexposed counterparts.


The genistein-treated mice also lost more embryos early in their development. Embryo death means fewer births and higher rates of infertility.

Together, the results suggest that the uterus may be an important factor in genistein-induced infertility.

These findings pinpoint one actual cause of the observed infertility of early life exposure to genistein. They also highlight the need for a much better understanding of how soy infant formulas and other products fed to newborns and infants may influence a developing baby's reproductive life.

Egg quality was not affected by newborn genistein treatment. The immature eggs from genistein-treated mice developed normally and produced fertile female mice just like in the controls.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence that implies that newborns that eat soy-based products may be predisposed to lower reproductive success as adults.



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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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