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Fertility/Reproductive Health
Working Group

CHE's Fertility & Reproductive Health Working Group convenes over 450 diverse members around environmental impacts on fertility and reproductive health. The goal of this dynamic conversation is to discern what the science is telling us, where the research gaps are, and how we can effectively support and promote science-based education and action. Read more...

If you would like to join and are already a CHE Partner, send us an email request. Or become a CHE Partner and indicate your interest in your application.

For more information, please contact Karin Russ at karin@healthandenvironment.org.


Highlights, April 2015

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment 2015 Reach the Decision Makers Fellowship application period now open
The Reach the Decision Makers Fellowship trains scientists, community members, clinicians and public health professionals to effectively promote science and health-based policies at the US EPA. Through their involvement, fellows gain a better understanding of the underlying science linking environmental contaminants to reproductive harm and build their skills for shaping environmental health policy at the national level. As part of the project, fellows visit the US EPA in Washington, D.C. share their perspectives on environmental reproductive health science and policy. For more information, visit the fellowship site.

Endocrine Society publishes series of studies on estimated costs of endocrine disrupting chemicals
A new economic analysis found exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

CHE Partnership call: A High Price to Pay: Burden of Disease and Costs of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union
Global experts in this field concluded that infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurobehavioral and learning disorders were among the conditions that can be attributed in part to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The €157 billion estimate is conservative, and represents 1.23 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product (GDP). These costs may actually be as high as €270 billion ($359 billion), or 2% of GDP. This call featured Dr. Trasande and Dr. Grandjen who will share how this study assessed the economic burden of EDC exposure, including the cost models as well as what this analysis includes, and discussed how these costs may be similar magnitude in the United States. MP3 recording now available.

Fertility and reproductive health related artiles - Paternal factors

Birth outcomes and background exposures to select elements, the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE)
Evidence suggests that trace exposures to select elements may increase the risk for adverse birth outcomes. To investigate further, we used multiple regression to assess associations between preconception parental exposures to Pb, Cd, and total Hg in blood, and 21 elements in urine, with n=235 singleton birth outcomes, adjusted for confounders and partner's exposure. Overall, associations were most consistently indicated for GA and measures of birth size with urine W and U, and paternal exposures were more frequently associated than maternal. Environmental Research.

Couples' urinary bisphenol A and phthalate metabolite concentrations and the secondary sex ratio
With limited research focusing on non-persistent chemicals as exogenous factors affecting human sex selection, this study aimed to evaluate the association of urinary bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalate metabolite concentrations with the secondary sex ratio (SSR), defined as the ratio of male to female live births. When maternal and paternal chemical concentrations were modeled jointly, paternal BPA and mono-isobutyl phthalate were significantly associated with a female excess. Contrarily, maternal BPA, mono-isobutyl phthalate, mono-benzyl phthalate, and mono-n-butyl phthalate were significantly associated with a male excess. Environmental Research.

Male fertility following occupational exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
The inconsistent epidemiological results of the endocrine disrupting effects of DDT fuel a harsh debate on its global ban. We tested the hypothesis that occupational exposure to dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) causes impairment in male fertility in a cohort of DDT exposed workers, in Sardinia, Italy. We did not find evidence of an impairment in male fertility following heavy occupational exposure to DDT. However, although fecundability was highest among the spouses of the DDT applicators in the years prior to the anti-malarial campaign, we cannot exclude that DDT exposure prevented an increase parallel to that observed among the unexposed and the less exposed sub-cohorts. Environment International.

Paternal obesity in a rodent model affects placental gene expression in a sex-specific manner
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a major obstetric complication stemming from poor placental development. Previously, we have shown that paternal obesity in mice is associated with impaired embryo development and significantly reduced fetal and placental weights. Here we demonstrate for the first time that paternal obesity is associated with changes in gene expression and methylation status of extraembryonic tissue in a sex-specific manner. These findings reinforce the negative consequences of paternal obesity prior to conception, and emphasise the need for more lifestyle advice for prospective fathers. Reproduction.

Male obesity is associated with changed spermatozoa Cox4i1 mRNA level and altered seminal vesicle fluid composition in a mouse model
Previously, we have demonstrated that paternal obesity results in impaired preimplantation developmental kinetics, compromised post-compaction metabolism and decreased blastocyst cell number when embryos were generated in vivo. Here we hypothesise that both sperm and seminal plasma are affected by obesity, compromising embryogenesis and pregnancy health in a cumulative manner. Nuclear encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV isoform 1 (Cox4i1) of the terminal enzyme in the mitochondrial respiratory chain demonstrated significantly increased RNA levels in the sperm of obese males. Quantitative seminal plasma analysis identified significant changes in levels of the hormones insulin, leptin, and estradiol, between normal and obese males. Further, the metabolite composition of seminal vesicle fluid was significantly affected by obesity. Molecular Human Reproduction.

See a searchable calendar with events of interest to this working group.

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment present Visionary Leadership Awards

6/14/13: The UCSF PRHE program awarded its Visionary Leadership Award at the start of The Endocrine Society Meeting in San Francisco to three prominent leaders of professional societies. Teresa Woodruff, President-elect of The Endocrine Society, Linda Giudice, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and Jeanne Conry, President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were this year's recipients. The award is given to visionary leaders working to improve reproductive health by preventing harmful environmental exposures.

Pictured above (L-R) are PRHE Director, Tracey Woodruff with Linda Giudice and CHE Fertility founder, Alison Carlson. Below, Vice-Chair of CHE Michael Lerner, Alison Carlson, former CHE Fertility coordinator Julia Varshavsky, and current coordinator Karin Russ gather to commemorate the occasion.

Second Annual CHE/NIEHS Women's Environmental Reproductive Health Consortium Meeting

For additional information, visit: Women's Environmental Reproductive Health Consortium. 


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