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Glyphosate & Fertility: How to Protect Your Reproductive Health

Glyphosate & Fertility: How to Protect Your Reproductive Health

While working on your fertility, I want you to be aware of chemicals you may be exposed to that could affect your chances of conception. While we cannot avoid all chemicals, there are important steps to take to protect your fertility and perhaps even the health and fertility of your future children.

Excessive exposure to pesticides is a major concern for fertility! Numerous studies link pesticides to fertility problems in both men and women (Medical News Today, June 2003; Human Reproduction, 2015). New research shows the chemical glyphosate is especially problematic for reproductive health. Unfortunately, today glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the world and a key component of the well-known herbicide, Roundup.

Here’s just some of what we know about glyphosate and fertility health.

Glyphosate & Male Fertility Health

The decline in testosterone levels over the last two and a half decades seems to coincide with the introduction of GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops along with increased use of glyphosate. Of important note are:

  • A 2018 study published in the Swiss journal Toxics links glyphosate containing pesticides to male subfertility, decreased sperm motility, and problems with sperm cell function.
  • A 2013 study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine finds that low dose exposure to glyphosate causes increased free radical activity, and damage to testes and sperm cells in lab animals.

Female Health & Fertility

Often with female fertility health issues, hormonal imbalance is driven by excess estrogen. Excess estrogen can cause and exacerbate a myriad of fertility health issues. We know xenohormones play a large role and recent findings are proving that exposure to glyphosate may be directly involved as well.

  • A 2018 study published in Reproductive Toxicology shows lab animals given glyphosate experience fertility problems along with growth issues and malformations in their babies. In this study, the scientists used lower glyphosate dosing, which compares to what the pesticide industry and EPA suggest is safe for daily exposure.
  • A 2018 study published in Food Chemical Toxicology shows glyphosate interacts with estrogen receptors and induces growth of certain cancer cells (alpha positive cholangiocarcinoma).

“…in females the androgen/estrogen balance in serum was modified by GM maize [genetically modified corn] and R [Roundup] treatments (at least 95% confidence level, Fig. 5B), and for male animals at the highest R-treatment dose, levels of estrogens were more than doubled…” (Environ Sci Eur. 2014)

More concerns: While the industry claims glyphosate is not stored in the body, “Friends of the Earth Europe commissioned laboratory tests on urine samples from volunteers in 18 countries across Europe and found that on average 44% of samples contained glyphosate.” While not conclusive, some researchers also believe glyphosate may be able to bind to proteins in the body, an effect that suggests it’s more pervasive than suspected. This, along with the fact that glyphosate depletes healthy gut flora are reasons why some researchers think this chemical increases the risk of celiac disease and autoimmune disorders.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself From Glyphosate?

Here are steps you can take to protect your fertility health from glyphosate and pesticide exposure:

Choose Organic!

Buying certified organic foods is the only way to completely avoid glyphosate used in food production. Also, look for certifications like “Non-GMO Project” for foods that are routinely genetically modified (and therefore exposed to more glyphosate) like: corn, soy, wheat, sugar, beets, cottonseed oil and canola oil. Be aware that GMO foods are routinely used in animal feed. Always choose organic when possible for animal and dairy products, as well as produce items on the Dirty Dozen list.

Cleanse the body twice a year.

Use herbal cleansers like Burdock (Arctium lappa), Milk Thistle Seed extract (Silybum marianum), and Turmeric (Curcuma longa) to assist the body’s natural detoxification processes. Increase fiber intake from beans, whole grains, and legumes to help move chemicals through the digestive system before they cause damage. Activated charcoal can be used temporarily (for a few days) to draw poisons and chemicals out of the body. To learn more about cleansing for fertility, see: How To Prepare for Conception with a Fertility Cleanse.

Protect your reproductive health with antioxidants.

Over time, the reproductive system (including eggs and sperm) are subjected to the damaging effects of free radicals. For optimum fertility, feed your body high-antioxidant foods. Glyphosate exposure is linked to reproductive cell damage, oxidative stress and increased free radical activity.

  • Work to increase the consumption of high antioxidant foods like red, yellow, orange, and green-pigmented fruits and vegetables.
  • Have a Fertility Smoothie and a big salad every day filled with colors from the rainbow.
  • Consider an antioxidant supplement like FertilicaTM Choice Antioxidants to increase the benefits, especially if you have a concern like endometriosis, PCOS or uterine fibroids where there is increased free radical activity. Women over 35 need to supplement with antioxidants to help protect egg health and quality from exposure to chemicals.


Exercise keeps toxins moving out of the body. Exercising to the point where you break a light sweat is another way to keep chemicals and toxins moving out of the body. Take a long walk or a nature hike, try Fertility Yoga, go dancing, or take a leisurely bike ride 4-5 days a week for natural detoxification support.

Choose natural feminine care and personal care products.

Glyphosate has been found in up to 85% of cotton-derived tampons, a real concern for women working on their fertility who need to reduce their exposure from all sources. Learn more: Toxic Herbicide Glyphosate Linked to Infertility Found in 85% of Tampons.

Fertility Building on Every Level
I know you take your fertility health seriously if you’re on this site. There are so many ways to support and protect your body as you prepare to build your family. Educating yourself on chemicals like glyphosate is important as you develop your personal natural fertility program. Understanding why and how glyphosate should be avoided is the first step.

Look for easy ways to decrease your exposure in everyday choices. Start by purchasing organic for “at risk” foods. Consider methods like periodic body cleansing and antioxidants for extra protection. If you are concerned about or interested in your glyphosate levels, talk to your doctor or consider testing by an independent lab (there may be many, but one is the non-profit company HRI Labs). While you cannot avoid all chemicals, you can make a profound difference in your long-term reproductive health through simple changes like these alone.


Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Interesting. great article. Thanks for posting.

  2. Avatar

    Do you support the use of organic juice cleanses (3-5 days) to detox?