Women who work night shifts or on rotating rosters have decreased fertility, new research has shown.
“It tells us women having fertility treatment should be avoiding shift work, and we can start advising women of this when they come in to clinic. It is a positive and practical change that women can make straight away,” he tells Mamamia.
The link between stress at work and reduced fertility is not new, but the shift work angle is something previously unconsidered.
“There’s always been a concern that stress at work affects fertility. Both physical and emotional stress” Dr Lane said.
“Shift work takes a great toll on the body in the way it affects its biorhythms, so there is a logical correlation with decreased fertility. Now, research has confirmed this.”
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The study, published in the journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found women working evening shifts, night shifts or on rotating rosters had 2.3 fewer mature oocytes (eggs), on average, compared with women who worked during the day.
As well as this, women who reported lifting heavy objects at work had fewer eggs than those who did not.
“In fertility treatment, we look to two aspects – both the quality and quantity of eggs,” Dr Lane said. “Two fewer eggs is a significant reduction in quantity and this would have a significant impact on fertility.”
“It means women working night shifts, who are also seeking fertility treatment, are likely to need more treatments in order to be successful,” he continued.