Project Details


Project SummaryMale infertility and subfertility accounts for roughly half of the 10-15% prevalence of overall failure toconceive a child. An accumulated body of evidence across the past two decades suggests fetal originsof adult male reproductive dysfunction. Male reproductive dysfunction could proceed inter-generationally, with parental work contributing to male subfertility in the next generation, and increasedvulnerability to second insult in the adult male exposed in utero or via parental occupation. We will usedata on male reproductive parameters, occupational data, and relevant covariates collected by theStudy for Future Families (SFF) to examine the role of occupational contributions to depression of malefertility indices including semen quality parameters, male hormonal levels, and testicular sizemeasurements. Occupational exposure indices will include reported occupation, specific job exposuresreported in the SFF, and a job-exposure matrix describing exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.Additionally, using a unique set of maternal questionnaire data on occupational exposures, we willassess intergenerational influences on men's reproductive indices by modeling direct and mediatedeffects of both parental and male-partner occupational exposures on male fertility profiles. This willassess male vulnerability (arising from parental occupational exposure) to a second insult toreproductive capacity. This proposal is one of the first to examine the role of occupational exposuressustained by parents of male subjects in reduced fertility or susceptibility to insult from occupationalexposures in the subsequent generation. The richness of this dataset, combined with the linkage ofmale fertility parameters with parental occupational data, is an opportunity to test of a novel hypothesison intergenerational transmission of male subfecudity. The findings of this proposed study will lay thegroundwork for efforts to reduce potentially hazardous occupational exposures in both fertile men andwomen across generations. This proposal addresses the NORA cross-sector program in Cancer,Reproductive and Cardiovascular Diseases which, with other CDC partners, aims to better identify andcontrol reproductive toxicant exposures, and is relevant to the health of workers in the Healthcare,Manufacturing, and Construction NORA sectors. As the NIOSH Program Portfolio notes, the overallcontribution of occupational exposures to male and female infertility remains unknown; this effort willmake a significant contribution toward a research agenda on male and intergenerational workplaceexposures and fertility. The work supports NIOSH r2p initiatives in providing detailed information onadverse reproductive exposures in the workplace, and their mitigation, as well as increasing protectionof workers who may be at greater risk from prior parental exposures.

Effective start/end date30/09/1829/09/20


  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: $84,750.00


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