Can exposure to sunlight affect female fertility? Researchers now say that moderate levels of sunlight exposure could improve ovarian reserve in women over the age of 30.

A study, published in Steroids, examined the impact of solar radiation exposure on female fertility. Researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Sheba Medical Center studied the levels of a specific hormone, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), in women between 20 and 40, examining how these levels varied across different seasons of the year.

Anti-Müllerian Hormone is essential for the development of a baby's sex organs during gestation. Higher levels of AMH in male babies prevent the formation of female reproductive organs, while female babies require only a minimal amount of AMH for their development.

AMH is produced by the testicles in men. In females, they are produced by the follicles of the ovaries, and their levels correspond to the ovarian reserve or the number of eggs they have in the ovary.

The study involved 2,235 women in Israel between the ages of 20 and 40. The participant data was followed up for four years. The researchers measured solar radiation using data from the Israeli Meteorological Service website.

The team observed a general decline in participants' AMH levels with age. They then categorized participants into two groups: 20-29 years and 30-40 years.

The researchers found no association between AMH levels and seasons or solar radiation intensity in the younger group. However, for those between 30-40, AMH levels increased in spring and autumn with moderate solar radiation, compared to the levels in winter with low solar radiation. In the same age group, participants with AMH levels collected during summer exhibited higher AMH levels than those collected during winter.

The researchers further divided the age group into two subsets, those between 30 and 35 and between 36 and 40. The 36-40 subset showed higher AMH levels during months of moderate solar intensity and in the summer compared to winter, while the 30–35-year group did not show a significant correlation.

The study has not established a causal relationship between fertility in women and sun exposure but an association between the two. It also has not identified the optimal levels needed for fertility benefits.

However, these findings suggest that moderate solar radiation exposure might be beneficial for women in their 30s while trying to conceive.

Understanding the optimal levels of sun exposure is crucial, as excessive levels are linked to problems like premature aging, immune suppression, and skin cancer. Nevertheless, the findings contribute to a deeper understanding of how external factors can affect female fertility.