Use of ibuprofen could ruin children’s chance for healthy fertility

Recent studies investigate mothers’ previously harmless use of painkillers during early weeks of pregnancy

According to a recent study, maternal ibuprofen taken during the early weeks of pregnancy may negatively impact eggs stored in female children.  This was detailed in a study put forth by Human Reproduction:

    • The lead doctor summarizes the point of the experiment.


  • The study tested the effects of painkillers in the lab.
  • The results proved less ovarian cells were present followed ibuprofen use.


The doctor

The lead researcher on the study-—Dr. Séverine Mazaud-Guittot from the University of Rennes—spoke of the mission: “…We already had scientific meetings with epidemiologists about this, but the question ‘how’ is still open. The time between exposure and possible health impact, the duration and dose of exposure, and the lack of noninvasive medical examination assays are the main limitations. We don’t know whether the damages incurred during fetal life will impact the fertility, the length of the reproductive lifespan and the quality of the surviving eggs.”


The study

In order to properly test the theory, Mazaud-Guittot used 185 human fetuses for the ex vivo with similar stages of weekly development.  Falling in the 7 to 12 week range, these fetuses indicate a first trimester, when the mother could first ingest ibuprofen.  According to the summary, “each sample was exposed to ibuprofen at 1 µM to 100 µM for 2, 4 or 7 days” and control cultures were also utilized for comparison and accurate recording.  

The results

Following Mazaud-Guittot’s experiment, the study showed that on average there was an average of a 50% decrease in ovarian cells after using ibuprofen when compared to the control group.  She noted in an interview with Endocrine Today: “Our study showed that when cultivated in the presence of relevant concentrations of ibuprofen for 7 days, the human fetal ovary is damaged: The number of cells is decreased, the proportion of cells multiplying is decreased and the proportion of dying cells is increased.”  She added, “This is particularly true for germ cells. We tried exposure for a short time (2 days) and withdrew ibuprofen for the 5 subsequent days — we observed that the ovary did not fully recover.” Presumably pleased with the results, the experiment was the first to successfully delve into the subject.

While the study is still ongoing, Mazaud-Guittot’s proof of the dangerous effects of simple ibuprofen while pregnant is crucial to preventing a unborn child’s fertility struggles.  Many women will no doubt battle infertility later in life, but—by the experiment’s results—there is no need to seal this fate while they are still in the womb.