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For the first time in Europe hair and urine testing have been applied to assess drugs of abuse consumption in couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology and the eventual association of toxic habits with other lifestyle, health status and sociodemographic factors was also investigated. Couples attending five assisted reproduction centers in Rome were invited to join the study. When they presented at the Centre for the visit, they were asked to answer a structured questionnaire concerning sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle habits, and at the same time to provide hair and urine samples. Hair and urine testing for drugs of abuse, urinary profile of principal endogenous steroids involved in fertility process (testosterone, epitestosterone, androsterone, etiocholanolone and dehydroepiandrosterone) and of alcohol and tobacco smoke biomarkers were performed with validated methodologies. Of the 594 enrolled individuals (297 couples), 352 (164 couples and 24 single individuals from the couple) completed the questionnaire and gave both hair and urine samples, apart from 3 bald men, who only gave urine samples. Urine testing showed an overall 4.8% (17 individuals) positivity to drugs of abuse: 4.2% to cannabinoids, 1.4% to cocaine and 0.85% to both drugs. Results of 4cm segment hair samples testing matched those from urine samples. Thus, taking together, results of urine and hair testing confirmed repeated use of cannabis, cocaine and both drugs in 3.7, 0.85 and 0.57% examined individuals, respectively. Drug consumers were in a statistically higher percentage active smokers and alcohol drinkers, less prone to physical activity and with a trend towards higher weight than non consumers. Finally, repeated drug consumption was associated with significant lower concentration of urinary testosterone in males and of urinary dehydroepiandrosterone in females. The findings of the present study confirm the suitability of urine testing to disclose recent drugs of abuse consumption and of hair analysis to verify repeated consumption. Association between different toxic habits and sedentary lifestyle is also substantiated by the obtained results in our cohort of couples attending assisted reproduction centers. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Simona Pichini, Roberto De Luca, Manuela Pellegrini, Emilia Marchei, Maria Concetta Rotolo, Roberta Spoletini, Paola D'Aloja, Roberta Pacifici, Claudia Mortali, Giulia Scaravelli. Hair and urine testing to assess drugs of abuse consumption in couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART). Forensic science international. 2012 May 10;218(1-3):57-61

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PMID: 22018744

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