Germaine M. Buck Louis
To acquaint readers with the field of human fecundity and related fecundity impairments (e.g., infertility and pregnancy loss) from a substantive and methodological perspective.
To identify important methodological considerations for study design and analysis.
To emphasize that human fecundity has implications for health and disease across the lifespan.
Rationale for Selection of Key Readings:
Fecundity is defined as the biologic capacity of men and women for reproduction irrespective of pregnancy intentions. Fecundity impairments span a range of male and female outcomes, such as diminished semen quality, conception delay or infertility and pregnancy loss. Terminology does vary by scientific discipline and geography, but harmonization efforts are being discussed. There are important conceptual and methodological considerations that impact study, including the inefficiency of human reproduction relative to other species; hidden outcomes such as the absence of a biomarker for conception requiring reliance on a proxy – implantation; a hierarchical data structure; correlated outcomes; past reproductive performance (a strong predictor of future performance), and conditioning on intermediates. Of late, a growing body of evidence suggests that fecundity is informative for health status across the life course, as conceptualized in the testicular and ovarian dysgenesis syndromes. As such, fecundity may be the ‘biomarker’ of adult health.
These suggested readings include a somewhat historical perspective on human fecundity and related impairments, select methodological considerations, and the implications for health across the lifespan.
(*Selected abbreviated reading)
Basso O, Christensen K, Olsen J.
Fecundity and twinning: A study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. Hum Reprod 2004;19(10):2222-2226.
*Buck Louis GM, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, et al.
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.
Cole LA, Ladner DG, Byrn FW.
The normal variabilities of the menstrual cycle. Fertil Steril 2009;91(2):522-527.
Nichols HB, Trentham-Dietz A, Hampton JM, et al.
From menarche to menopause: trends among US women born from 1912 to 1969. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164(10):1003-1011.
Lynch CD, Jackson LW, Buck Louis GM.
Estimation of the day-specific probabilities of conception: current state of the knowledge and the relevance for epidemiologic research. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2006;20, Suppl 1:3-12.
McLain AC, Sundaram R, Cooney MA, et al.
Clustering of fecundability within women. Paediatr Perinatal Epidemiol 2011; 25:460-465.
Slama R, Eustache F, Ducot B, et al.
Time to pregnancy and semen parameters: a cross-sectoinal study among fertile couples from four European cities. Hum Reprod 2002;17(2):503-515.
Farr SL, Schieve LA, Jamieson DJ.
Pregnancy loss among pregnancies conceived through assisted reproductive technology, United States, 1999-2002.
French FE, Bierman JM.
Probabilities of fetal mortality. Public Health Reports 1962;77(10):835-848.
Macklon NS, Geraedts JPM, Fauser BCJM.
Conception to ongoing pregnancy: the ‘black box’ of early pregnancy loss. Hum Reprod Update 2002;8(4):333-343.
Miller JF, Williamson E, Glue J, et al.
Fetal loss after implantation: a prospective study. Lancet Sept 13, 1980:554-556.
Mukherjee S, Velez Edwards DR, Baird DD, et al.
Risk of miscarriage among black women and white women in a US prospective cohort study. Am J Epidemiol 2013;177(11)1271-1278.
*Thoma ME, McLain AC, Louis JF, et al.
The prevalence of infertility in the United States as estimated by the current duration approach and a traditional constructed approach. Fertil Steril 2013; 99(5):1324-1331.
*Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, O’Connor JF, et al.
Incidence of early loss of pregnancy. N Engl J Med 1988;319:189-194.
Buck GM, Lynch CD, Stanford JB, et al.
Prospective pregnancy study designs for assessing reproductive developmental toxicants. Environ Health Perspect 2004; 112:79-86.
Buck GM, Schisterman EF, Dukic VM, et al.
Research hurdles complicating the analysis of infertility treatment on child health. Hum Reprod 2005;20:12-18.
*Buck Louis GM, Dukic VM, Heagerty PJ, et al.
Statistical issues in modeling pregnancy outcome data. Stat Methods Med Res 2006; 15:2:103-126.
Cooney MA, Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, et al.
Validity of self-reported time to pregnancy. Epidemiol 2009;20(1):56-59.
Keiding N, Kvist K, Hartvig H, et al.
Estimating time to pregnancy from current durations in a cross-sectional sample. Biostats 2002;3(4):565-578.
Olsen J, Ramlau-Hansen CH.
Epidemiologic methods for investigating male fecundity. Asian J Androl 2014;16(1):17-22.
*Mumford SL, Schisterman EF, Cole SR, et al.
Time at risk and intention-to-treat analyses: parallels and implications for inference. Epidemiol 2015;26(1):112-118. Commentary: Keiding N, Slama R. Time-to-pregnancy in the real world. Epidemiol 2015;26(1):118-119.
Slama R, Ducot B, Carstensen L, et al.
Feasibility of the current-duration approach to studying human fecundity. Epidemiol 2006;17(4):440-449.
*Sallmén M, Bonde JP, Lindbohm M-L, et al.
Selection bias due to parity-conditioning in studies of time trends in fertility. Epidemiol 2015;26(1):85-90.
Zieluis GA, Hulscher MEJL, Florack EIM.
Validity and reliability of a questionnaire on fecundability. Int J Epidemiol 1992; 21:1151-1156.
Axmon A, Hagmar L.
Time to pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. Fertil Steril 2005;84(4):966-974.
*Buck Louis GM, Cooney MA, Peterson CM.
The ovarian dysgenesis syndrome. J Develop Origins Health Dis 2011;2(1):25-35.
Tobias DK, Chavarro J, Williams MA, et al.
History of infertility and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective analysis of 40,773. Am J Epidemiol 2013;178(8):1219-1225.
Tobias DK, Gaskins AJ, Missmer SA, et al.
History of infertility and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study. Diabetologia 2015;58(4):707-715.
*Skakkebaek NE, Rajpert-De ME, Main KM.
Testicular dysgenesis syndrome: an increasingly common developmental disorder with environmental aspects. Hum Reprod 2001;16(5):972-978.
Wainer-Katsir K, Zou JY, Liniai M.
Extended fertility and longevity: the genetic and epigenetic link. Fertil Steril 2015;103(5):1117-1124.
Wise LA, Mikkelsen EM, Sørensen HT, et al.
Prospective study of time to pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes. Fertil Steril 2015;103(4):1065-1073.