The effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on ovarian- and ovulation-related fertility outcomes

Katie L. Land, Frances G. Miller, Ava C. Fugate, Patrick R. Hannon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is unavoidable, which represents a public health concern given the ability of EDCs to target the ovary. However, there is a large gap in the knowledge about the impact of EDCs on ovarian function, including the process of ovulation. Defects in ovulation are the leading cause of infertility in women, and EDC exposures are contributing to the prevalence of infertility. Thus, investigating the effects of EDCs on the ovary and ovulation is an emerging area for research and is the focus of this review. The effects of EDCs on gametogenesis, uterine function, embryonic development, and other aspects of fertility are not addressed to focus on ovarian- and ovulation-related fertility issues. Herein, findings from epidemiological and basic science studies are summarized for several EDCs, including phthalates, bisphenols, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, flame retardants, parabens, and triclosan. Epidemiological literature suggests that exposure is associated with impaired fecundity and in vitro fertilization outcomes (decreased egg yield, pregnancies, and births), while basic science literature reports altered ovarian follicle and corpora lutea numbers, altered hormone levels, and impaired ovulatory processes. Future directions include identification of the mechanisms by which EDCs disrupt ovulation leading to infertility, especially in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-631
Number of pages24
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank all the members of Dr. Thomas Curry's, Dr. Misung Jo's, Dr. Yohan Choi's, and Dr. Patrick Hannon's laboratory for their insightful critiques of this review. This review was supported by grants R01ES033767 (P. R. H.) and R00ES028748 (P. R. H.) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Molecular Reproduction and Development published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • endocrine-disrupting chemicals
  • fertility
  • ovary
  • ovulation
  • reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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