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Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment

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Under the provisions of Section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institutes of Health has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve the information collection listed below. This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register, under the title “Determinants of Male and Female Fecundity and Fertility,” on January 9, 2004, page 1589 and allowed 60-days for public comment. Two public comments were received from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Chemistry Council Phthalate Esters Panel regarding specific aspects of the proposed methodology. Overall, comments from the former group pertained predominantly to clinical issues while the latter group's comments provided their rationale for the omission of phthalates from the protocol. These comments were useful in modifying the proposed study and instruments. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.

5 CFR 1320.5 (General Requirements) Reporting and Recordkeeping

Requirements: Final Rule requires that the agency inform the potential Start Printed Page 70154persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. This information is required to be stated in the 30-day Federal Register notice.

Proposed Collection: Title: Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE Study). Type of Information Collection Request: NEW. Need and Use of Information Collection: The purpose of the LIFE Study is to assess the impact of environmental factors, broadly defined to include lifestyle factors, on human reproduction and development. The LIFE Study is consistent with the mission of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that includes conducting basic, clinical and epidemiologic research focusing on factors and processes associated with human reproduction and development, thereby, ensuring the birth of healthy infants capable of reaching full adult potential unimpaired by physical or mental disabilities.

This study will assess the relation between select environmental factors and human reproduction and development. This research proposes to recruit and retain 800 couples interested in becoming pregnant and willing to participate in a longitudinal study. Couples will be selected from geographic regions that were chosen from peer reviewed competitive proposals. Fecundity will be measured by the time required for the couples to achieve pregnancy, while fertility will be measured by the ability of couples to have a live born infant. Infertility will be recognized for couples unable to conceive within 12 months of trying. The study's primary environmental exposures include: organochlorine pesticides; polychlorinated biphenyls; polybrominated diphenyl ethers; metals; perfluorinated compounds; cotinine; and phytoestrogens. A growing body of literature suggests these compounds may exert adverse effects on human reproduction and development; however, definitive data are lacking especially for sensitive endpoints. Couples will participate in a 25-minute baseline interview and be instructed in the use of home fertility monitors and pregnancy kits for counting the time required for pregnancy and detecting pregnancy. Blood and urine samples will be collected at baseline from both partners of the couple for measurement of the environmental exposures. Two semen samples from male partners and two saliva samples from female partners also will be requested. Semen samples will be used to globally assess male fecundity as measured primarily by sperm concentration and morphology. Saliva samples will be used for the measurement of cortisol levels as a marker of stress among female partners so that the relation between environmental factors, stress and human reproduction can be assessed.

The findings will provide valuable information regarding the effect of environmental contaminants on sensitive markers of human reproduction and development, filling critical data gaps. Moreover, these environmental exposures will be analyzed in the context of other lifestyle exposures such as use of cigarettes and alcohol, consistent with the manner in which human beings are exposed. Frequency of Response: Following the baseline interview (25 minutes), couples will each complete a 2-minute daily diary on select lifestyle factors. Women will perform daily fertility testing (7 minutes) approximately 11 days per cycle and pregnancy testing (4 minutes) at day of expected menses using a dipstick test in urine. Approximately 60% of women will become pregnant after 2 to 3 months, at which point they will switch to the less intensive portion of the protocol. Men will provide two semen samples, a month apart, requiring approximately 20 minutes for each collection, and women will collect two saliva samples, a month apart, requiring approximately 6 minutes each. Participating couples will be given a choice to submit their information by mail or to send it electronically to the Data Coordinating Center. This option will be available throughout data collection in the event couples change their minds about how they would like to submit information. Study participants will collect semen and saliva samples and forward them in prepaid delivery packages to the study's laboratories. Research nurses will collect blood and urine samples and return them to the study's laboratories. Affected Public: Individuals from participating communities. Type of Respondents: Men aged 18+ years and women aged 18-40 years. Estimated Number of Respondents: Approximately 1,000 couples enrolling (minimum of 800 completing the study). Estimated Number of Response Sets Per Respondent: 7 per woman and 4 per man over approximately two years. Average Burden Hours Per Response: (1) 0.17 hours for completing the screening instrument; (2) 0.42 hours for baseline interviews with men and women; (3) 2.5 hours for daily journal while attempting pregnancy for men and women; (4) 0.38 and 0.7 hours for biospecimen collection for women and men, respectively; (5) 2.6 hours for fertility monitors; (6) 0.27 hours for pregnancy testing for women; and (7) 0.29 hours for pregnancy journals for women. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours Requested: 3,280 to 9,900 hours for female participants and 2,100 to 5,480 hours for male participants depending upon the length of time required for pregnancy. There is no cost to respondents. There are no Capital Costs, Operating Costs, and/or Maintenance Costs to report.

Request for Comments: Written comments and/or suggestions from the public and affected agencies are invited on one or more of the following points: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the function of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Direct Comments to OMB: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, should be directed to the: Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, Attention: Desk Officer for NIH. To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, contact: Dr. Germaine M. Buck Louis, Epidemiology Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, NICHD, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 7B03, Rockville, MD 20852, (301) 496-6155. You may also e-mail your request to

Comments Due Date: Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of the date of this publication.

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Dated: November 19, 2004.

Paul L. Johnson,

Project Clearance Liaison, NICHD, National Institutes of Health.

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[FR Doc. 04-26539 Filed 12-1-04; 8:45 am]