After studying the effects of ibuprofen on male fertility and male human foetuses, scientists at Inserm (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale – French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) focused on the harmful effects of ibuprofen consumption on female foetuses. They showed that ibuprofen consumption during the first trimester of pregnancy reduces the egg reserve in foetal ovaries. “At this point during pregnancy, the ovary produces its egg supply for life,” explains Séverine Mazaud-Guittot from Inserm at the University of Rennes.
To reach these conclusions, the scientists used ovarian fragments from “185 human foetuses aged from 7 to 12 weeks, obtained during abortions performed on consenting women” and compared changes in these fragments depending on whether or not ibuprofen was present. After seven days’ exposure, the fragments of exposed ovaries had produced 50% fewer cells than those serving as the control. However, the scientist qualified this as follows: “We cannot confirm that this reduction in the number of eggs in the foetal ovary would impact on fertility during adulthood because these women would have to be monitored throughout life”.
Ibuprofen is already contraindicated during the third trimester of pregnancy due to the risk of foetal death and is not recommended throughout pregnancy. Nevertheless, many women take this medication. “Our study just corroborates recommendations to avoid ibuprofen during the first two trimesters of pregnancy,” concludes Séverine Mazaud-Guittot.