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Intergenerational Research Study

Title Detection of sperm biochemical changes involved in transmitting effects of positive and negative experiences across generations.
Therapeutic Area Stress
Principal Investigator Larry A. Feig, Ph.D.
Min Age 20 Years
Max Age 40 Years
Gender Male
Contact Lauren Tobias; Olaniyi Ogunbodede


The goal of this research project is to test the hypothesis that the effects of both positive and negative lifetime experiences of men can be transmitted to their offspring through a specific biochemical change in their sperm, that may also be detectable in their saliva.  Thus, we will ask you and your father to fill out a set of short surveys about your positive (resilience building) and negative (early life and adult exposures to severe stress) experiences. We will also ask you to fill out a set of short surveys on your recent mental health, and we will perform biochemical tests on samples of your sperm and saliva. Finally, because there is some evidence that female offspring are affected differently than their male siblings by their father’s experiences, if you have a sister willing to participate, we will ask her to fill out a similar set of short surveys.

Study Details

Inclusion Criteria

  • Adult males between 20-40 years
  • Must have a living father
  • Father must be willing and able to fill out questionnaires about their resilience building and stressful experiences.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Adult males who do not have a living father or are adopted

Study Requirements

Adult male participants will be required to sign an informed consent, if they agree to participate in the study. They will also complete 5 short survey questionnaires (~5 minutes each) about their lifetime experiences and current mental health. Both the informed consent and surveys can be completed remotely.  The semen studied will be a fraction of the sample given to Boston IVF by the participants as part of their semen analysis that would have been discarded. The participants will also give a saliva sample at Boston IVF when they bring in their semen sample.

Fathers, and if able and willing, sisters will be required to sign the informed consent form and complete their surveys remotely online.

Compensation of $150 will be provided to the primary participants, while their father and sister will be given $50 upon completion of the surveys.