Offspring sex ratios at birth as markers of paternal endocrine disruption

Environ Res. 2006 Jan;100(1):77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2005.03.001.


There is good evidence that paternal (and maternal) hormone levels at the time of conception are associated with offspring sex ratios (proportions male) at birth. The mechanisms underlying this association (pre- or postzygotic) are not of primary relevance here. When people are exposed to endocrine-disrupting agents, these agents may have different hormonal effects on men and women. So, if endocrine disruption is to be revealed by offspring sex ratios, it is necessary to categorize the sexes of subsequent offspring by the four possible parental mating classes, viz. exposed/unexposed mothers/fathers. In general, substantially altered sex ratios may reveal endocrine disruption, but the tiny (admittedly significant) secular meanderings of national live birth sex ratios across the 20th Century (and before) are not now readily interpretable.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Paternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Ratio*


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones