Whether you want to be a dad or not, it’s still nice to have the option. Being told kids are off the table for you isn’t the best experience, and it can screw up your current or future life plans in a big way.
And while I hate to be alarmist, the way human fertility is on a downward spiral in general isn’t great news for humanity as a whole. There are a lot of different things causing this trend, but some research I’m going to share with you seems to point toward a more recent love of humanity: the use of chemicals in just about everything.
Male infertility rates soaring
Between 1973 and 2013, male sperm counts declined by over 50 percent, according to an analysis published in the Human Reproduction Update journal (https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/23/6/646/4035689). In that data, researchers noticed that the largest decline appeared in samples from men in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America.
There are a lot of factors that can impact male fertility, but research suggests that chemicals that disrupt endocrines–the messaging system of your body that’s responsible for hormone activity–deserve a large share of the blame for the dramatic decline in male reproductive health. These chemicals are found in many areas of daily life, including herbicides, non-organic foods, plastics and personal care products.
The US currently allows more than 84,000 different chemicals to be used in food, food packaging, household items and cosmetics, and many of these were not thoroughly tested for safety – or even tested at all. In a 2005 study by the Environmental Working Group, researchers actually found that there were around 200 pollutants and industrial chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of US-born babies.
Of course, as noted above, other factors besides chemicals can impact male fertility. Nutritional deficiencies, immune system issues, obesity, stress and a sedentary lifestyle can all wreak havoc on male reproductive health.
Women are also negatively impacted by these chemicals, but male reproductive health is more affected due to how the male reproductive system develops in the womb. At the start, female and male fetuses are pretty identical. Hormones are what drive the differentiation between male and female, so when synthetic chemicals that mimic natural hormones enter the mix, they interfere with biological process that results in a male fetus.
If you’re worried about your reproductive health, speak to your doctor as soon as you can for support and help.