Request for Information (RFI): Fertility Status and Overall Health

Notice Number: NOT-HD-15-001

Key Dates
Release Date:  February 13, 2015

Related Announcements
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Response Date:  March 20, 2015

Issued by
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Purpose

This Notice is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) from the Fertility and Infertility Branch (FIB) of NICHD. As a preliminary effort in  planning a scientific research workshop and for other potential future uses, we seek comments and suggestions about research on the use of fertility status as a marker of overall health, including information on the current state of the science, the highest priorities moving forward, and potential conceptual or technical barriers to overcome.

Background

It is well-established that many chronic diseases and conditions can impair fertility, however less is known about the extent to which fertility status can act as a marker for overall health. Many recent epidemiologic studies demonstrate a link between fertility status and various somatic diseases and disorders, and suggest that fertility status can be a window into overall health. The findings include both male and female reproductive function, and their association with cancer as well as conditions of the cardiovascular, metabolic, and the immune systems, to name a few. The relationship between fertility status and overall health is a high program priority topic area of the Fertility and Infertility Branch and is integral to our ultimate goal of optimizing reproductive health and thereby promoting a better quality of life for all individuals.

Information Requested

The Fertility and Infertility Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in partnership with the Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is considering plans to hold a scientific workshop on the relationship between fertility status and overall health in Fiscal Year 2016. To guide the planning of this workshop, we seek comments on but not limited to the following areas of concern:

1. The most critical gaps in the current state-of-the-science in the link between fertility status and overall health.  Your comments can include the gaps, which are most practical to pursue and/or could give the highest potential short-term and long-term payoffs.

2. Additional epidemiologic evidence  the field needs to move forward to mechanistic questions, such as finding common genetic bases or molecular mechanisms between fertility status and somatic diseases or conditions.

3. Improvements in public health surveillance that are most needed to better monitor fertility status as a marker of overall health.

4. The current barriers to progress in the field, for example  conceptual, practical, and technical barriers, and what is needed to overcome them.

How to Submit a Response

All comments must be submitted by email to FERTandOAHealth@mail.nih.gov.  Responses to this RFI are voluntary and will be accepted through Friday, March 20, 2015. You will see an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individual feedback.

This RFI is for planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the United States (U.S.) Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Fertility and Infertility Branch (FIB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Email:  FERTandOAHealth@mail.nih.gov