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Iron Supplements May Decrease Risk of Infertility

Women who took iron supplements found to have significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Ovulatory infertility may be less likely in women who take iron supplements or consume high amounts of non-heme iron from other sources, according to study findings published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 18,555 married, premenopausal women who attempted a pregnancy or became pregnant between 1991 and 1999, and followed them for eight years.

The researchers found that 438 women reported infertility due to an ovulatory disorder. They found that women who took iron supplements had a significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility compared with women who took no iron supplements (relative risk 0.60). They also found that total non-heme iron intake was inversely associated with the risk of infertility.

"Because these results have not been reported previously it is important that they are reproduced, preferably in prospective studies using diverse measures of iron intake and in randomized trials among healthy and infertile women," the authors conclude. "Nevertheless, given that iron deficiency is commonly found among women of reproductive age and may be associated with adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes, women planning to become pregnant should consider using iron supplements because they may help them prevent iron deficiency and also improve fertility."

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