BBB Collaborative Research: Human Fecundity

BBB investigators have been actively involved in collaborating with reproductive researchers from the Epidemiology Branch (EB) and academic universities on studies aimed at assessing male and female lifestyle factors as well as environmental exposures on human fecundity and fertility.

Two division-wide studies on which BBB staff served as lead statistician or co-investigators in collecting such data include EB’s Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGeR) Trial and the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study.

Reproduction is unique in that each stage is inextricably linked. Therefore, better blood flow at the time of conception and implantation may lead to improved placental function or reduced risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth. To this end, the EAGeR Trial evaluated the effect of daily low-dose aspirin on implantation and pregnancy outcomes. The multisite, prospective, double-blind, block-randomized trial evaluated 1,228 regularly menstruating women between the ages of 18 and 40 who had up to two miscarriages and who planned to become pregnant again. 

The LIFE Study was designed to address some of the many critical gaps in research regarding the effects of persistent environmental chemicals on human reproduction and fertility.

BBB investigators are currently involved in developing state-of-the art statistical methods to assess the association of mixtures of chemical exposures on the whole host of reproductive outcomes. Other significant areas of interest are in developing joint modeling framework for studying longitudinally measured behavior and menstrual cycle characteristics with pregnancy as the end of follow-up, allowing researchers to develop a dynamic risk prediction calculator for time to pregnancy as well as infertility.

Principal Investigators

Zhen Chen, Ph.D. and Rajeshwari Sundaram, M.Stat., Ph.D.

Selected Publications

Mills, J. L., Ali, M., Buck Louis, G. M., Kannan, K., Weck, J., Wan, Y., Maisog, J., Giannakou, A., & Sundaram, R. (2019). Pregnancy loss and iodine status: the LIFE Prospective Cohort Study. Nutrients, 11(3), 534. PMID: 30823683. PMCID: PMC6471412

Mills, J. L., Buck Louis, G. M., Kannan, K., Weck, J., Wan, Y., Maisog, J., Giannakou, A., Wu, Q., & Sundaram, R. (2018). Delayed conception in women with low-urinary iodine concentrations: a population-based prospective cohort study. Human Reproduction (Oxford, England), 33(3), 426–433. PMID: 29340704. PMCID: PMC6454505

Lynch, C. D., Sundaram, R., & Buck Louis, G. M. (2018). Biomarkers of preconception stress and the incidence of pregnancy loss. Human Reproduction (Oxford, England), 33(4), 728–735. PMID: 29490045. PMCID: PMC6065502

Gaskins, A. J., Sundaram, R., Buck Louis, G. M., & Chavarro, J. E. (2018). Predictors of sexual intercourse frequency among couples trying to conceive. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 15(4), 519–528. PMID: 29523477. PMCID: PMC5882561

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