Residential proximity to major roadways and traffic in relation to outcomes of in vitro fertilization

Environ Int. 2018 Jun;115:239-246. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.03.029. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Background: Emerging data from animal and human studies suggest that traffic-related air pollution adversely affects early pregnancy outcomes; however evidence is limited.

Objective: We examined whether residential proximity to major roadways and traffic, as proxies for traffic-related air pollution, are associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes.

Methods: This analysis included 423 women enrolled in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study, a prospective cohort study, who underwent 726 IVF cycles (2004-2017). Using geocoded residential addresses collected at study entry, we calculated the distance to nearest major roadway and the traffic density within a 100 m radius. IVF outcomes were abstracted from electronic medical records. We used multivariable generalized linear mixed models to evaluate the associations between residential proximity to major roadways and traffic density and IVF outcomes adjusting for maternal age, body mass index, race, education level, smoking status, and census tract median income.

Results: Closer residential proximity to major roadways was statistically significantly associated with lower probability of implantation and live birth following IVF. The adjusted percentage of IVF cycles resulting in live birth for women living ≥400 m from a major roadway was 46% (95% CI 36, 56%) compared to 33% (95% CI 26, 40%) for women living <50 m (p-for-comparison, 0.04). Of the intermediate outcomes, there were suggestive associations between living closer to major roadways and slightly higher estradiol trigger concentrations (p-trend = 0.16) and lower endometrial thickness (p-trend = 0.06). Near-residence traffic density was not associated with outcomes of IVF.

Conclusion: Closer residential proximity to major roadways was related to reduced likelihood of live birth following IVF.

Keywords: Air pollution; Assisted reproduction; Fertility; In vitro fertilization; Traffic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geographic Mapping
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Vehicle Emissions