The Male Factor: Environment, Development and Fertility

September 20, 2012
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker Presentation Slides

Niels Jorgensen: presentation slides (PDF)

Shanna Swan: presentation slides (PDF)

Additional Resources

Evidence for decreasing quality of semen during past 50 years. Carlsen E, Giwercman A, Keiding N, Skakkebaek NE. BMJ. 1992 Sep 12;305(6854):609-13.

A pilot study of the association between genetic polymorphisms involved in estrogen signaling and infant male genital phenotypes. Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH, Farin FM, Wilkerson HW, Bamshad M, Grady R, Zhou C, Schwartz SM. Asian Journal of Andrology. 2012 Sep;14(5):766-72. doi: 10.1038/aja.2012.27. Epub 2012 May 14. PMID: 22580635.

Shorter anogenital distance predicts poorer semen quality in young men in Rochester, New York. Mendiola J, Stahlhut RW, Jørgensen N, Liu F, Swan SH. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011 Jul;119(7):958-63. Epub 2011 Mar 1. PMID: 21377950. Free PMC Article.

Phthalate Excretion Pattern and Testicular Function: A Study of 881 Healthy Danish Men. Joensen UN, Frederiksen H, Jensen MB, Lauritsen MP, Olesen IA, Lassen TH, Andersson AM, Jørgensen N. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2012 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22832070.

Human semen quality in the new millennium: a prospective cross-sectional population-based study of 4867 men. Jørgensen N, Joensen UN, Jensen TK, Jensen MB, Almstrup K, Olesen IA, Juul A, Andersson AM, Carlsen E, Petersen JH, Toppari J, Skakkebæk NE. BMJ Open. 2012 Jul 2;2(4). pii: e000990. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000990. Print 2012. PMID: 22761286. Free PMC Article.

The relationship between anogenital distance, fatherhood, and fertility in adult men. Michael L. Eisenberg, et al.

The relationship between anogenital distance and the etiology of azoospermia in adult men. Michael L. Eisenberg, et al. International Journal of Andrology. 2012 Dec 27.

The relationship between anogenital distance and reproductive hormone levels in adult men. Michael L. Eisenberg, et al.

Male twins reduce fitness of female co-twins in humans. V. Lummaa, et al.
PNAS, June 2007

Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure. Shanna H. Swan, et al. 2003

Impaired reproductive development in sons of women occupationally exposed to pesticides during pregnancy. Helle R. Andersen, et al. Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2008

Smaller genitals at school age in boys whose mothers were exposed to non-persistent pesticides in early pregnancy. C. Wohlfahrt-Veje, et al. International Journal of Andrology, 2012

Lower birth weight and increased body fat at school age in children prenatally exposed to moder pesticides: a prospective study. C. Wohlfahrt-Veje, et al. Enviornmental Health, 2011

Kiss1 mice exhibit more variable hypogonadism than Gpr54 mice. R. Lapatto, et al. Endocrinology, 2007

Testosterone replacement therapy induces spermatogenesis and partially restores fertility in luteinizing hormone receptor knockout mice. T. Pakarainen, et al. Endocrinology, 2005

Listen to Recording

This call was hosted by the CHE Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group.

Environmental factors may alter the course of development of male reproductive organs and impact later adult fertility. Chemicals and other environmental influences may impact the quality of sperm production. This call explored the state of the science on changes in male reproductive development and fertility that may result from environmental exposures.  

Dr. Shanna Swan has done extensive research on a measurement of male reproductive development: anogenital distance (AGD). Changes in this physiological measurement have been associated with exposure to phthalates and BPA. Dr. Swan presented a summary of the science supporting AGD as a marker of prenatal exposure to some EDCs, and implications for adult fertility.

The role that environment plays in male fertility has been debated over the years. A landmark study in 1992 demonstrated an approximately 50% decline in sperm counts over a 50 year period, based on studies from Western Europe and the US. Dr. Jorgensen and colleagues published a study this summer that reports on sperm concentration over the past 15 years in young Danish men. Dr. Jorgensen discussed these recent data on sperm quality, as well as findings on the changing incidence of testicular cancer, in Denmark.

Featured Speakers

Shanna SwanShanna Swan, PhD, is the vice chair for Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a member of the Mount Sinai's Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC). Previously Dr. Swan was professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor in Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Since 1998, Dr. Swan has served as principal investigator of the “Study for Future Families”, a multi-center pregnancy cohort study and more recently The Infant Development and the Environment Study (TIDES).