T-shape uterine cavity, typical of the DES syndrome

Utero-salpingography showing Diethylstilboestrol exposure in-utero uterus

Diethylstilboestrol (DES) exposure in-utero has been shown to have a potentially negative impact on pregnancy. Negative effects include an increased risk of early pregnancy loss, ectopic gestation and infertility.

These women may also present reproductive tract abnormalities leading to pregnancy complications. The most common anomalies include uterine defects such as T-shaped uterus or hypoplastic uterine cavity.

Image Sources

  • Estradiol and progesterone supplementation during luteal phase improved the receptivity of the endometrium in a patient with a history of diethylstilboestrol exposure in-utero, hormones.gr, 2006.
  • Watch our DES and EDCs Research album on Flickr.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

How to choose a pop star gift without problematic chemicals

Gift boxes with cosmetics are a cocktail of problematic chemicals

All I want for Christmas is … EDC-Free gifts!, Health and Environment Alliance, 19 December 2016.

Many popstars market gift boxes with cosmetics to children, making these boxes popular gifts during the festive season. Yet, these boxes may contain hormone disruptors, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, an EDC-Free campaign partner, has put several gift boxes with cosmetics to the test. They examined the ingredient lists on gift boxes which are targeted at children in their marketing. EDCs were found in every single gift box with cosmetics.

“It is very unfortunate that all of the gift boxes we found in the stores contain substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting,”

says Stine Müller, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals. Hormone disrupting chemicals are suspected to cause several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

Fracking Chemicals Exposure May Harm Fertility Even at Very Low Dose

Adverse Reproductive and Developmental Health Outcomes Following Prenatal Exposure to a Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Mixture in Female C57Bl/6 Mice

Unconventional oil and gas operations using hydraulic fracturing can contaminate surface and groundwater with endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

We have previously shown that 23 of 24 commonly used hydraulic fracturing chemicals can activate or inhibit the estrogen, androgen, glucocorticoid, progesterone, and/or thyroid receptors in a human endometrial cancer cell reporter gene assay and that mixtures can behave synergistically, additively, or antagonistically on these receptors.

Adverse Reproductive and Developmental Health Outcomes Following Prenatal Exposure to a Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Mixture in Female C57Bl/6 Mice, Endocrine Society Endocrinology, July 05, 2016.

In the current study, pregnant female C57Bl/6 dams were exposed to a mixture of 23 commonly used unconventional oil and gas chemicals at approximately 3, 30, 300, and 3000 μg/kg·d, flutamide at 50 mg/kg·d, or a 0.2% ethanol control vehicle via their drinking water from gestational day 11 through birth.

This prenatal exposure to oil and gas operation chemicals suppressed pituitary hormone concentrations across experimental groups (prolactin, LH, FSH, and others), increased body weights, altered uterine and ovary weights, increased heart weights and collagen deposition, disrupted folliculogenesis, and other adverse health effects.

This work suggests potential adverse developmental and reproductive health outcomes in humans and animals exposed to these oil and gas operation chemicals, with adverse outcomes observed even in the lowest dose group tested, equivalent to concentrations reported in drinking water sources. These endpoints suggest potential impacts on fertility, as previously observed in the male siblings, which require careful assessment in future studies.

In vitro fertilization success rate for older women is consistently low

The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40

” Many young women were understandably seduced by the once widely publicized message that if they chose to delay pregnancy and were then unable to conceive, they could still have babies through in vitro fertilization, also known as I.V.F.

Miriam Zoll was one of them. Married at age 35, she thought she had plenty of time to start a family. After all, she said, “My mother had me at 40, and since 1978, the fertility industry has been celebrating its ability to help women have children at older ages.”

When at 39 she and her husband decided to start a family, they discovered that nature refused to cooperate. Four emotionally and physically exhausting I.V.F. cycles (and two attempted donor egg cycles) later, they remained childless. ” …

… continue reading The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40NY Times, OCT. 17, 2016.

The Milk We Drink, Food for Thought

Sex hormones of placental origin can be detected in cow milk in measurable levels


Milk and dairy products provide a steadily increasing share of total daily nutrition worldwide and are a readily available source of protein and calcium. Over 50% of the world’s population consumes milk or dairy products on a daily basis, which now constitutes 30%–50% of their daily calorie intake. Milk has become a staple food in northern Europe only in the last 70 years. Before then, rural milk production was widely prevalent but mainly intended to produce butter and cheese from the sour milk leftovers.


Fertility and Sterility, Volume 106, Issue 6, Pages 1310–1311, November 2016.

Milking Apparatus by pkohler.

Over the last century, cow milk and dairy products have become a major component of daily nutrition worldwide. Public health policies recommend high dairy consumption, of at least two to three dairy servings a day. The escalating cow milk market dictated a profound change in traditional dairy cow farming, and today modern milking continues during most of the gestation period. This strategy results in measurable levels of sex hormones of placental origin in commercially available cow milk. Whether milk-originated steroid hormones have biological significance to human health and reproduction is hotly debated. Dairy products, like other animal-based foods, contain bioactive substances, most of which are present in minute quantities. Several studies have suggested a correlation between high milk consumption and poor sperm quality as well as increased risk of prostate and testicular cancer. Well designed, interventional, properly controlled human studies are urgently needed to uncover the potential effects of such a popular food on human reproduction and health.

Health Effects from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Cost The U.S.

Yearly Exposure to Chemicals Dangerous to Hormone Function Burdens Americans with Hundreds of Billions in Disease Costs

Reducing chemical exposure could save Americans hundreds of billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

Families exposed to a synthetic hormone experiencing high rates of cancer and infertility

DES Action Australia – Channel 9 News, 1999

Video published on 7 August 2016 by DES Action Australia.

DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Compensation needed for thousands of Australian women affected by a pregnancy drug

DES Action Australia – Channel 7 News, 1999

Video published on 7 August 2016 by DES Action Australia.

DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Outdoor air pollution and human infertility

Outdoor air pollution and reproduction, 2016


Air pollution is a current research priority because of its adverse effects on human health, including on fertility.

However, the mechanisms through which air pollution impairs fertility remain unclear.

In this article, we perform a systematic review to evaluate currently available evidence on the impact of air pollution on fertility in humans.

Several studies have assessed the impact of air pollutants on the general population, and have found reduced fertility rates and increased risk of miscarriage.

Outdoor air pollution and human infertility: a systematic review, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 897–904, September 15, 2016.

Image: Environmental Research Group, King’s College London, London Air Quality Network.

In subfertile patients, women exposed to higher concentrations of air pollutants while undergoing IVF showed lower live birth rates and higher rates of miscarriage.

After exposure to similar levels of air pollutants, comparable results have been found regardless of the mode of conception (IVF versus spontaneous conception), suggesting that infertile women are not more susceptible to the effects of pollutants than the general population.

In addition, previous studies have not observed impaired embryo quality after exposure to air pollution, although evidence for this question is sparse.

Outdoor air pollution and sperm quality

Outdoor air pollution and reproduction, 2016


Exposure to air pollution has been clearly associated with a range of adverse health effects, including reproductive toxicity, but its effects on male semen quality are still unclear.

We performed a systematic review (up to June 2016) to assess the impact of air pollutants on sperm quality. We included 17 semi-ecological, panel, and cohort studies, assessing outdoor air pollutants, such as PM2.5, PM10, NOx, SO2, and O3, and their effects on DNA fragmentation, sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology.

Outdoor air pollution and sperm quality, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 880–896, September 15, 2016.

London Air Pollution View from Hackney, zongo.

Thirteen studies assessed air pollution exposure measured environmentally, and six used biomarkers of air pollution exposure (two did both).

We rated the studies using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and assessed with the exposure method. Taking into account these factors and the number of studies finding significant results (positive or negative), the evidence supporting an effect of air pollution on DNA fragmentation is weak but suggestive, on sperm motility is limited and probably inexistent, on lower sperm count is inconclusive, and on sperm morphology is very suggestive. Because of the diversity of air pollutants and sperm parameters, and the studies’ designs, we were unable to perform a meta-analysis.

In summary, most studies concluded that outdoor air pollution affects at least one of the four semen quality parameters included in the review. However, results lack consistency, and furthermore, studies were not comparable. Studies using standardized air pollution and semen measures are required to obtain more reliable conclusions.