Spotlight on Fertility and Reproductive Health Work at CHE

Karin Russ, MS, RN, CHE’s Fertility and  Reproductive Health Working Group Coordinator

Years ago,  I  was a nurse caring for a patient who had just had her sixth miscarriage. She was, as one might expect, emotionally  devastated and searching for answers as to why this might have  happened. At the time, some potential physiological causes  were examined, but environmental factors were not  considered.

As CHE celebrates its 10th  anniversary, significant progress has been made toward  educating professionals and the public on environmental  contributors to infertility, early pregnancy loss, and impacts on the developing fetus. Since CHE’s early years, the Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group  has sought to bring  attention to the growing body of research linking environmental factors to problems with reproductive health. In  the male, many environmental agents are associated with decreased sperm quality and increased risk of prostate cancer.  Women are more susceptible to endometriosis, polycystic ovary  disease, and problems with in vitro fertilization following exposure to some environmental chemicals. A substantial body  of scientific literature demonstrates the crucial nature of  fetal environmental exposures on developmental origins of  adult health and disease.

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