Increasingly, women experience problems with getting pregnant or carrying pregnancy to term. A woman's fertility decreases as she gets older, but even during her most fertile (and otherwise healthy) years, lifestyle choices and external factors can affect a woman's chances of having a healthy baby. Moreover, a woman’s fertility is already largely established early in her life, during embryonic and fetal development and puberty. Increasing evidence shows that exposure during these specific times in her life to synthetic and natural chemicals with endocrine activity or endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), can negatively affect a woman’s fertility. Strikingly, in contrast to male infertility, there is surprisingly limited knowledge on the mechanisms by which EDCs can impair female reproduction and test methods to address this. Experts from academia and regulatory authorities agreed that this is a huge gap in regulatory substance evaluation processes.
The main objective of this project is to provide dedicated, human-relevant, test methods to identify EDCs that cause female reproductive toxicity. By expanding our scientific knowledge, the FREIA project will provide better information on EDC-related female reproductive health effects that will be used to promote female reproductive health for women around the world. This project is called FREIA - Female Reproductive toxicity of EDCs: a human evidence-based screening and Identification Approach, after the Nordic Goddess of fertility.