A 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.
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.
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