Reproductive medicine in the face of climate change: a call for prevention through leadership

Climate change continues to impact global populations and intensify reproductive environmental health disparities, thus we urge health care workers to take initiative against the climate crisis and safeguard future generations.
Reproductive medicine in the face of climate change: a call for prevention through leadership
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VOLUME 118, ISSUE 2, P239-246

Authors:

Leah Martin, B.S., Yu Zhang, B.A., Vicente Mustieles, Ph.D., Irene Souter, M.D., John Petrozza, M.D., Carmen Messerlian, Ph.D. 

Abstract:

Climate change has led to a multitude of ecological disruptions and downstream reproductive health consequences that impair our reproductive capacity and, in turn, harm the health and survival of future generations. Atmospheric changes, driven by anthropogenic emissions, expose global populations to droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events—posing major threats to public health and exacerbating environmental health disparities. Existing evidence demonstrates the potential for climate-driven events to impact reproductive health outcomes, yet very few studies have explored this relationship. Recently, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics released position statements regarding reproductive health and environmental exposures. Unfortunately, such initiatives have yielded little action within the health care system. To address this stagnation, health care workers must meld research findings into actionable preventive medicine strategies and transition to a more action-oriented approach to address the climate crisis. The objective of this article is to elucidate the urgency of the climate crisis in relation to reproductive health and push the health care workers to recognize their intrinsic opportunity as leaders in climate action at local, state, national, and international levels. We call on health care organizations and health care workers to leverage their inherent positions as climate action leaders to increase climate resilience and mitigate climate-related adverse reproductive health outcomes.

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