Soy Infertility Issues Explained


Infertility is an issue that affects millions of women. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, nearly 11 percent of “women of reproductive age” suffer from the condition yearly. Finding the culprit is key to couples being able to realize their dream of becoming pregnant with a baby. And for some of the women who are dealing with problems getting pregnant, soy could be a culprit to infertility, especially if eaten in copious amounts.

Eating soy does have benefits. Especially for vegetarian women during pregnancy as a way to get their necessary protein in, according to Kofinas Fertility Group. But, if trying to become pregnant, the chemical compounds in soy can lead to troubles with infertility. As such, while trying to conceive, soy products should be eaten in moderation to ensure that the plant-based protein is not interfering with family planning.

RELATED: The Best Foods To Eat To Increase Chances Of Conception (& The Ones To Avoid)

Here is why soy may cause infertility.

Over-Consumed Isoflavones Can Make It Difficult To Conceive

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When soy is eaten without abandon to the point where more than 60 grams are consumed daily, the isoflavones in the soy will build up in the system. As this happens, according to BabyCenter, they will act to mimic estrogen. Because of this, a hormone imbalance can occur. And when the hormones are out of balance it is nearly impossible to get pregnant.

Because most women are not consuming these levels of soy on a daily basis, even if they are vegetarian, it is unlikely that soy alone is contributing to infertility. However, it may not be helping matters either. As such, it is recommended to eat soy products in moderation to ensure they do not interrupt the estrogen levels in the body, specifically when trying to conceive.

Eating Soy Can Cause Irregular Periods

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If eaten in amounts larger than 60 grams per day, soy can cause the menstrual cycle to become irregular. And when the cycle cannot be tracked regularly, it becomes difficult to conceive.

According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, by consuming these levels of soy, the “surges of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone were significantly suppressed” during women’s cycles. Given that the luteinizing hormone is responsible for making the body ovulate and the follicle-stimulating hormone controls the menstrual cycle, these are two very important factors in the scheme of conception that are working below their normal levels when soy is eaten.

If women are suffering from infertility and are eating higher levels of soy, even if they are not at the 60-gram levels that are known to cause issues with conception, it may be time to scale back the amount eaten to see if the body can regulate itself to normal hormone levels. It is also important to relate to healthcare professionals that soy is being consumed with regularity in order to be able to rule out any connection with the protein.

Soy Allergies & Infertility

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Soy is a common food allergy. And while people recognize not to eat it if it is causing digestion discomfort, what may not be recognized is that it can lead to other conditions that interfere with the ability to conceive.

According to OvulifeMD, when food is eaten that causes an inflammatory response from the body it should be discontinued. If it is not, then the body is in a chronic state of inflammation. If this happens, per the publication, conditions like endometriosis and PCOS can occur. Both of which interfere with becoming pregnant.

Therefore, if it is clear there is an allergy to soy, food should be avoided that contains it as an ingredient. Whole soy products should not be consumed either.

If concerned that soy may be a contributing factor to infertility, speaking with a healthcare professional is recommended. While it may not be the sole factor leading to the inability to become pregnant, it is best to know if soy is affecting fertility so that the issue can be addressed. And if it is not the culprit, checking it off the list is one step closer to finding out where the problem lies.

Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Kofinas Fertility Group, BabyCenter, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, OvulifeMD

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