Fertility Risks for Veterinarians

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine just published a study that looked at the fertility risks of female veterinarians.

Those found to be at the greatest risk were veterinarians under the age of 30, those working with a variety of animals and also those who work more than a 45 hour work week.

Why????? Well, in a nutshell…many veterinarians are not completely protecting themselves from occupational hazards such as x-rays, gasses and pesticides.

This study looked at more than 1,200 women who had graduated from Australian veterinarian schools, and followed them for more than 40 years. They tracked the number of hours they worked, the type of practice they worked in, the type of procedures they did and the safety precautions that were taken within the offices.

There were a couple of specific findings that are of concern:

Female veterinarians who were exposed to more than one hour of gasses from anesthesia were 2 times more likely to miscarry.

25% of female veterinarians that work in the operating or recovery room did not take safety precautions to minimize their exposure to anesthetic gasses.

80% of female veterinarians did use lead aprons while taking aprons, yet they didn’t
use other protection such as masks, gloves, screens or film holders.

Some of the researcher’s recommendations for female veterinarians were: use all of the protective gear while in the clinic, try and avoid unnecessary exposure to the gasses and toxins, and make sure the clinic you work in has working ventilation.

So…if you are a female veterinarian who is hoping to become a mom someday, be careful to keep yourself protected from the harmful gasses and chemicals in the workplace.

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.