Can spending more time in the sun boost fertility for women in their 30s and older? Research claims that exposure to UV radiation can be beneficial

  • Researchers found that dwindling egg reserves responded positively to sunlight
  • Experts say older ovaries need “optimal environmental conditions” to function

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can have a positive effect on fertility in women between the ages of 30 and 40, scientists say.

The ovaries of women in the ‘late reproductive’ age range were found to secrete more AMH hormone, which is linked to ovarian function, during the summer.

Researchers studied 2,235 Israeli women and found that those whose egg reserves decreased responded positively to sunlight.

Professor Carmit Levy of Tel Aviv University called the study “groundbreaking” but said more research will be needed to confirm the findings.

Researchers studied 2,235 Israeli women and found that those whose egg reserves decreased responded positively to sunlight

She said: ‘This is very encouraging news for women trying to have children later in life.

‘We have yet to determine how much sunlight a woman needs to get these benefits, but I think it will be minimal exposure, just enough to trigger vitamin D production.’

The study comes after a separate study in mice by the same team found that sun exposure increases metabolism and sexual appetite, enlarges ovaries and extends fertility.

‘Humans are not the same as mice, but we are animals and our hairless nature makes us even more sensitive to solar radiation,’ says Dr Levy.

‘Our research suggests that the female reproductive system is indeed more fertile in summer, but we still have no information about the mechanism or actual success rates.’

In women aged 20 to 29 years, no association was found between UV exposure and AMH levels.

Researcher Dr Ruth Percik said this may be because younger women have sufficient egg reserves and do not need ‘sun signals’ to boost their fertility.

She said: ‘Women have less need for signals from the sun at the start of their childbearing years, which influence hormonal mechanisms that have not yet been sufficiently studied.

‘They are less influenced or dependent on the forces of nature in the context of fertility.

‘Older ovaries, on the other hand, require optimal environmental conditions to function.

‘This effect was even stronger in women aged 35 and over.

‘Of course there are caveats: exposure to the sun’s UV rays should always be done in moderation, and further research is needed to determine whether such exposure actually promotes fertility, and how much exposure is necessary.’

Other studies have shown that excessive sun exposure can damage the skin, eyes and immune system.