Proceedings of the Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility: executive summary

Fertil Steril. 2008 Feb;89(2):281-300. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.10.002.


The 2007 Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility convened scientists, health care professionals, community groups, political representatives, and the media to hear presentations on the impact of environmental contaminants on reproductive health and fertility, and to discuss opportunities to improve health through research, education, communication, and policy. Environmental reproductive health focuses on exposures to environmental contaminants, particularly during critical periods of development, and their potential effects on future reproductive health, including conception, fertility, pregnancy, adolescent development, and adult health. Approximately 87,000 chemical substances are registered for commercial use in the United States, with ubiquitous human exposures to environmental contaminants in air, water, food, and consumer products. Exposures during critical windows of susceptibility may result in adverse effects with lifelong and even intergenerational health impacts. Effects can include impaired development and function of the reproductive tract and permanently altered gene expression, leading to metabolic and hormonal disorders, reduced fertility and fecundity, and illnesses such as testicular, prostate, uterine, and cervical cancers later in life. This executive summary reviews effects of pre- and postnatal exposures on male and female reproductive health, and provides a series of recommendations for advancing the field in the areas of research, policy, health care, and community action.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Disease Susceptibility / chemically induced
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Gonads / drug effects
  • Gonads / embryology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Reproductive Medicine / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Reproductive Medicine / trends*
  • Time Factors


  • Environmental Pollutants