The role of oxidative stress in female infertility and in vitro fertilization

Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2017 May 9;71(0):359-366. doi: 10.5604/01.3001.0010.3820.


Infertility problem involves many couples of reproductive age. It has been estimated that in Poland 0.7-1.0 million pairs require treatment, while for more than half of them assisted reproduction is the only recommended and effective method. Infertility affects 13 to 15% of the world's population. A major concern is the age-related decline in female fertility even more that often a decision about pregnancy is taken at later age. Recent studies show that increased production of reactive oxygen species is an important factor in etiopathogenesis of pregnancy and affects female reproduction. It was found that oxidative stress may damage the oocytes and may impair their fertilization capacity. Oxidative stress may also lead to embryo fragmentation and formation of numerous developmental abnormalities, and is regarded to be one of the important reasons of spontaneous and recurrent miscarriage. Moreover, overproduction of reactive oxygen species has a significant impact on the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / metabolism
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Oxidative Stress*