Rising hypospadias rates: Disproving a myth

Harry Fisch, Grace Hyun, Terry W. Hensle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Hypospadias is one of the most common congenital abnormalities occurring in males. In recent years, the prevalence of hypospadias and whether that prevalence is rising or stable has become part of a larger debate over the potential effects of so-called 'endocrine disruptors', such as phthalates and bisphenol-A, on male reproductive health. This commentary critically examines allegations suggesting a worldwide increase in hypospadias rates. Despite the lack of scientific support for this hypothesis and for related claims that the disorders of male reproductive health are related to endocrine disruptors, these constructs remain firmly entrenched in popular literature, and are being used in part to justify litigation banning suspected endocrine disruptors such as phthalates and bisphenol-A. A review of the epidemiologic data on this issue amassed to date clearly demonstrates that the bulk of evidence refutes claims for an increase in hypospadias rates. This suggests that two of the three components of alleged testicular dysfunction syndrome, i.e. decline in sperm counts and rise in urogenital anomalies, lack clinical support. It further suggests that extrapolations from data derived in laboratory animal studies about alleged occult risks to humans of various candidate compounds are unwarranted at this time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-39
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital defects
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Hypospadias
  • Reproductive tract
  • Reproductive tract disorders


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