Impact of ambient temperature on ovarian reserve

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Authors:

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D., Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, Ph.D., Trang VoPham, Ph.D., Jaime E. Hart, Sc.D., Jorge E. Chavarro, MD, Sc.D., Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Irene Souter, MD, Francine Laden, Sc.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To examine the association between ambient temperature and antral follicle count (AFC), a standard measure of ovarian reserve.


Design

Prospective cohort study.


Setting

Fertility center at an academic hospital in the northeastern United States.


Patient(s)

631 women attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center (2005–2015) who participated in the Environment and Reproductive Health Study.


Intervention(s)

Daily temperature at the women’s residential address was estimated for the 90 days before their antral follicle scan using a spatially refined gridded climate data set. We evaluated the associations between temperature and AFC using Poisson regression with robust standard errors, adjusting for relative humidity, fine particulate matter exposure, age, education, smoking status, year and month of AFC, and diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve and ovulation disorders.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Antral follicle count as measured with transvaginal ultrasonography.


Result(s)

A 1°C increase in average maximum temperature during the 90 days before ovarian reserve testing was associated with a −1.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], −2.8, −0.4) lower AFC. Associations remained negative, but were attenuated, for average maximum temperature exposure in the 30 days (−0.9%, 95% CI, −1.8, 0.1) and 14 days (−0.8%, 95% CI, −1.6, 0.0) before AFC. The negative association between average maximum temperature and AFC was stronger in November through June than during the summer months, suggesting that timing of heat exposure and acclimatization to heat may be important factors to consider in future research.


Conclusion(s)

Exposure to higher temperatures was associated with lower ovarian reserve. These results raise concern that rising ambient temperatures worldwide may result in accelerated reproductive aging among women.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.