UAlbany Researcher Examines Impact of Metals on Assisted Reproductive Technologies

NIH has awarded UAlbany researcher Michael Bloom $303,365 to examine how metals may impact assisted reproductive technologies.

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 9, 2015) – With nearly two million U.S. couples experiencing health issues related to reproduction, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and similar assisted reproductive technologies have become a common practice to increase the chances of successfully conceiving and maintaining pregnancy. However, concern has grown about the use of high-dose drug regimens and multiple embryo transfer strategies to increase the likelihood of live birth.

With a 60 percent increase in the number of women reporting difficulty getting pregnant – including a 200 percent increase among women less than 25 years old, epidemiologists are closely monitoring associations between exposure to metal toxicants (such as mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic) and reduced fertility and poorer IVF outcomes.

University at Albany School of Public Health researcher Michael Bloom has been awarded $303,365 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine the impact of metals on assisted reproductive technologies.

UAlbany Associate Professor Michael Bloom
School of Public Health Associate Professor Michael Bloom

Working in conjunction with co-investigators from the University of California at San Francisco, the University at Buffalo, and the Wadsworth Center at the New York State Department of Health, Bloom and his research team will examine the potential link between exposure to metals and IVF success rates. The goal will be to design interventions for couples to identify modifiable toxicant exposures, as well as identify couples with a high risk of failure.

"Given the substantial population of infertile U.S. couples, the increasing use of IVF and the ubiquitous nature of toxic elements, there is a clear need to assess the impact on in vitro fertilization," said Bloom, an associate professor of environmental health sciences with a joint appointment in epidemiology and biostatistics. "We hope our results will be relevant not only to couples currently exploring IVF treatment, but to the larger population of infertile couples not using IVF."

Bloom conducts observational research on the effects of environmental agents (toxic metals and organic compounds) on human reproduction, including infertility and in vitro fertilization, pregnancy loss, and birth outcomes.

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