Skip Navigation

Division Office of the Director (OD)

Skip sharing on social media links
Skip Internal Navigation

OD Research - Reproductive Epidemiology

Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study

The Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study is designed to examine the relation between ubiquitous environmental chemicals, lifestyle, and human fecundity and fertility. The primary exposures of interest include persistent chemicals (e.g., PCBs, PBDEs and PFOS) and lifestyle factors (e.g., stress, cigarette smoking, caffeine, and alcohol usage). The LIFE Study comprised 501 couples recruited prior to conception who were followed daily while attempting to become pregnant for up to 12 months of trying. Pregnant women were followed monthly until delivery. The primary study outcomes include couple fecundability as measured by time-to-pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and infertility. Pregnancy outcomes include length of gestation, birth size and the secondary sex ratio. Data analysis is currently underway. Several cases of environmental chemicals have been associated with fecundity impairments, such as longer time required to become pregnant and poor semen quality.

Principal Investigator

Germaine Louis, Ph.D., M.S.

DIPHR Collaborators

Selected Publications

  • Buck Louis GM, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Wilcosky TC, Goce-Langton R, Lynch CD, Barr DD, Schrader SM, Kim S, Chen Z, Sundaram R. Designing prospective cohort studies for assessing reproductive and developmental toxicity during sensitive windows of human reproduction and development: The LIFE Study. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 2011; 25:413-424.
  • Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Chen Z, Kim S, Caldwell K, Boyd Barr D. Heavy metals and couple fecundity, the LIFE Study. Chemosphere 2012; 87:1201-1207.
  • Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Maisog J, Kim S, Chen Z, Barr DB. Persistent environmental pollutants and couple fecundity, The LIFE Study. Environmental Health Perspectives 2013; 121(2):231-236.
  • Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney A, Lynch CD, Kim S, Maisog JM, Gore-Langton R, Chen Z. Semen quality and time-to-pregnancy, the LIFE Study. Fertility and Sterility 2014; 101(2):453-62.
  • Eisenberg ML, Kim S, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Buck Louis GM. The relationship between male body mass index, adiposity, and activity level on semen quality, LIFE Study. Human Reproduction 2014; 29(2):193-200.
  • Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Sweeney AM, Schisterman EF, Maisog J, Kannan K. Urinary bisphenol A, phthalates and couple fecundity, The LIFE Study. Fertility and Sterility 2014;101(5):1359-1366.
  • Schisterman EF, Mumford SL, Chen Z, Browne RW, Barr DB, Sundaram R, Kim S, Buck Louis GM. Lipid concentrations and semen quality: The LIFE Study. Andrology 2014;2(3):408-415.
  • Lynch CD, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Sweeney AM, Buck Louis GM. Preconception stress increases the risk of infertility: Results from a couple-based prospective cohort study, The LIFE Study. Human Reproduction 2014; 29(5):1067-1075.
  • Schisterman EF, Mumford SL, Browne RW, Boyd Barr D, Chen Z, Buck Louis GM.  Serum lipid levels and couple fecundity:  The LIFE Study.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2014;99(8):2786-2794.
  • Mumford SL, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Barr DB, Rybak ME, Maisog JM, Parker DL, Pfeiffer CM, Buck Louis GM.  Female, not male, urinary lignan concentrations associated with shorter time to pregnancy.  Journal of Nutrition 2014;144(3):352-358.
  • Sapra KJ, McLain AC, Maisog JM, Sundaram R, Buck Louis GM.  Successive time-to-pregnancy among women experiencing hCG pregnancy loss.  Human Reproduction 2014;29(11):2553-2559.
  • Buck Louis GM, Kannan K, Sapra KJ, Maisog J, Sundaram R.  Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type UV filters and couple fecundity.  American Journal of Epidemiology 2014;180(12):1168-1175.
  • Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Schisterman EF, Kim S, Sweeney AM, Sundaram R, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Barr DB.  Perflurochemicals and Human Semen Quality, the LIFE Study.  Environmental Health Perspectives 2015;123(1):57-63.
  • Guo Y, Weck J, Sundaram R, Goldstone A, Buck Louis GM, Kannan K.  Urinary concentrations of phthalates in couples planning pregnancy and its association with 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine, a biomarker of oxidative stress.  Environmental Science and Technology 2014;48(16):9804-9811.
  • Mumford SL, Kim S, Chen Z, Gore-Langton R, Barr DB, Buck Louis GM.  Persistent organic pollutants and semen quality:  The LIFE Study.  Chemosphere 2014; Nov.28.  Pii:S0045-6536(14)1278-8.
  • Goldstone AE, Chen Z, Perry MJ, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Urinary bisphenol A and semen quality, the LIFE Study.  Reproductive Toxicology 2015;51:7-13.
  • Zhang C, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Calafat AM, Barr DB, Buck Louis GM.  A prospective study of pre-pregnancy serum concentrations of perfluorochemicals and the risk of gestational diabetes.  Fertility and Sterility 2015;103(1):184-189.
  • Bae J, Kim S, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Couples’ urinary bisphenol A and phthalate metabolite concentrations and the secondary sex ratio.  Reproductive Toxicology 2015;137:450-445.
  • Eisenberg ML, Chen Z, Ye A, Buck Louis GM.  The relationship between physical occupational exposures and health on semen quality: Data from the LIFE Study.  Fertility and Sterility 2015;103(5):1271-1277.  PMID: 25765658
  • Bae J, Kim S, Schisterman EF, Barr DB, Buck Louis GM.  Maternal and paternal serum concentrations of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and the secondary sex ratio.  Chemosphere 2015;133:31-40. PMID: 25863705
  • Bloom MS, Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Steuerwald AJ, Parson PJ.  Metals and birth outcomes and background exposures to select elements, the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment.  Environmental Research 2015; 138C:118-129.
  • Robledo CA, Yeung E, Mendola P, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Sweeney A, Barr D, Buck Louis GM.  Preconception maternal and paternal exposure to persistent organic pollutants and birth size.  Environmental Health Perspectives 2015;123(1):88-94.
  • Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Schisterman EF, Kim S, Sweeney AM, Sundaram R, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Barr DB.  Perflurochemicals and Human Semen Quality, the LIFE Study.  Environmental Health Perspectives 2015;123(1):57-63.
  • Bae J, Kim S, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Couples’ urinary bisphenol A and phthalate metabolite concentrations and the secondary sex ratio.  Reproductive Toxicology 2015;137:450-445.
  • McLain AC, Sundaram R, Buck Louis GM.  Joint analysis of longitudinal and survival data measured on nested time-scales using shared parameter models: an application to fecundity data.  Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 2015;64(Part 2):339-357.
  • Eisenberg ML, Chen Z, Ye A, Buck Louis GM.  The relationship between physical occupational exposures and health on semen quality: Data from the LIFE Study.  Fertility and Sterility 2015;103:1271-1277.
  • Bloom MS, Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Steuerwald AJ, Parson PJ.  Metals and birth outcomes and background exposures to select elements, the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment.  Environmental Research 2015; 138C:118-129.
  • Sapra KJ, McLain AC, Maisog JM, Sundaram R, Buck Louis GM.  Clustering of retrospectively reported and prospectively observed time-to-pregnancy.  Annals of Epidemiology 2015; May 7. Pii: S1047-2797(15)00160-X. PMID: 26033375
  • Buck Louis GM, Chen Z, Kim S, Sapra KJ, Bae J, Kannan K.  Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type ultra violet light filters and semen quality.  Fertility and Sterility 2015; Aug 5.  Pii:S0015-0282(15)01640-4. PMID: 26253817
  • Lum KJ, Sundaram R, Buck Louis GM, Louis TA.  A Bayesian approach to joint modeling of menstrual cycle length and fecundity.  Biometrics 2015; Aug 21.  DOI: 10.1111/biom.12379. PMID: 26295923
  • Bloom MS, Whitcomb BW, Chen Z, Ye A, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Associations between urinary phthalate concentration and semen quality parameters in a general population.  Human Reproduction 2015;30(11): 2645-2657.  PMID: 26350610
  • Smarr MM, Grantz KL, Sundaram R, Maisog JM, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Parental urinary biomarkers of preconception exposure to bisphenol A and phthalates in relation to birth outcomes: the LIFE Study.  Environmental Health 2015; 14:73. PMID: 26362861
  • Mumford SL, Kim S, Chen Z, Barr DB, Buck Louis GM.  Urinary phytoestrogens associated with subtle effects on semen quality among male partners of couples desiring pregnancy:  The LIFE Study.  Journal of Nutrition (In Press).
  • Bae J, Kim S, Kannan K, Buck Louis GM.  Couples’ urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type ultraviolet flters and the secondary sex ratio.  Science of the Total Environment (In Press).
  • Jaacks L, Barr DB, Sundaram R, Maisog J, Zhang C, Buck Louis GM.  Pre-pregnancy maternal exposure to polybrominated and polychlorinated biphenyls and gestational diabetes.  Environmental Health (In Press).
  • Bae J, Kim S, Chen Z, Eisenberg ML, Buck Louis GM.  Human Semen Quality and the Secondary Sex Ratio.  Asian Journal of Andrology (In Press).
Last Reviewed: 01/11/2016

Contact Information

Name: Dr Germaine M Louis
Director and Senior Investigator
Phone: 301-496-6155
Fax: 301-402-2084
E-mail: louisg@mail.nih.gov

Staff Directory
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology