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Tak­ing painkillers like aspirin could leave your un­born sons in­fer­tile, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished in Hu­man Re­pro­duc­tion, Europe's lead­ing re­pro­duc­tive medicine jour­nal.

The re­searchers warned that pro­longed use of parac­eta­mol, aspirin and ibupro­fen could put un­born boys at risk of fer­til­ity prob­lems, poor sperm qual­ity and tes­tic­u­lar can­cer in later life. It's es­ti­mated that around half of all preg­nant women take painkillers dur­ing preg­nancy, most of­ten for headaches. Sci­en­tists said that that un­born ba­bies are most at risk be­tween the fourth and six month of preg­nancy when tak­ing one painkiller dou­bled the risk com­pared to women who took none. Parac­eta­mol dou­bled the risk, while ibupro­fen or aspirin in­creased it four-fold. The study also claimed that tak­ing two painkillers to­gether in­creased the risk 16-fold. The se­nior sci­en­tist at Rigshos­pi­talet in Copen­hagen who led the re­search, said mild painkillers acted as hor­mone dis­rup­tors, in­ten­si­fy­ing low-level ex­po­sure from en­vi­ron­men­tal chem­i­cals in the womb.

Dr Hen­rik Lef­fers said: 'If ex­po­sure to en­docrine dis­rup­tors is the mech­a­nism be­hind the in­creas­ing re­pro­duc­tive prob­lems among young men in the Western World, this re­search sug­gests that par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion should be paid to the use of mild anal­gesics dur­ing preg­nancy, as this could be a ma­jor rea­son for the prob­lems.'

He warned that women should try to re­duce their use of over­the-counter anal­gesics dur­ing preg­nancy.

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