Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE)

Coordinating Center
Project Status
Project Lifespan
08/31/2003 to 08/31/2011

The Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study (LIFE Study), sponsored by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), is an epidemiological study of approximately 500 couples at risk for pregnancy. The purpose of this study is to assess the potential of persistent chemicals in the environment in the context of lifestyle behaviors to affect human reproduction and development. The study is being conducted by scientists at the NICHD, one research site in Michigan and one in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and The EMMES Data Coordinating Center. Centers are located in geographic areas where fish consumption might contribute to exposure to environmental chemicals.

A longitudinal investigation is a research study in which data are collected from the same participants over a period of time. The LIFE Study, which has completed recruitment, is collecting information from couples while attempting to become pregnant and from women during their pregnancies. Two of the study questions address whether environmental chemicals affect the length of time it takes couples to become pregnant and pregnant women's ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Other questions concern the potential effects of environmental chemicals on infertility defined as not pregnant in the first twelve menstrual cycles, gestational age at birth, and infant birth outcomes including body weight, length and head circumference.


The study will achieve its objectives by collecting and analyzing data from approximately 500 couples in a committed relationship who are trying to conceive. Women must be 18 to 40 years of age, not currently pregnant, have menstrual cycles averaging 21 to 42 days of length and not be surgically sterilized or require medical help to become pregnant. Other ineligibility criteria concerns use of contraceptives. Men must be at least 18 years of age and not be surgically sterilized (e.g., vasectomy) or require medical help to be able to father a child. Sampling frameworks include fishing license registry or interest in fishing.


Two centers located in 12 counties in Texas near the gulf coast and 4 counties in Michigan near Lake Michigan.

Data Analysis and Reporting
Meeting Coordination and Support
Protocol Monitoring
Project Management
Statistical Leadership and Project Management
Study Design/Protocol Development
Training and Certification
Web-based Data Collection and Reporting Systems