Is There a Fertility Crisis? Fallen Sperm Counts Have Some Scientists Concerned

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Feb. 26 2021, Published 5:21 p.m. ET

Fertility Crisis
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For years now, climate experts have mostly attributed global warming to human activity — air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, and society's reliance on non-renewable energy sources are only a few driving forces of climate change. That said, these issues are heightened by overpopulation; according to Biological Diversity, studies have shown a direct correlation between human population growth and climate change

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However, experts are now worried there may be a fertility crisis afoot, based on a series of studies conducted in 2017. Keep reading for more on this impending dilemma, and how it could affect society as we know it.

pregnancy crisis
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Is there an upcoming fertility crisis? Studies show potential problems..

Our beloved planet Earth has grappled with the effects of overpopulation for quite a while, but recent studies may show we're about to experience the exact opposite. As per The Guardian, environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, Shanna Swan, co-lead a 2017 study that observed sperm counts in west coast populations between 1973 and 2011. The results showed a 59 percent drop in sperm counts, and she expects the median could be at zero by 2045. 

Likewise, global fertility rates have dropped from 5.06 births per woman to under 2.1, and Swan believes this is due to a serious matter that could seriously endanger humankind. 

“Of five possible criteria for what makes a species endangered,” she wrote in the study, “only one needs to be met; the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three.”

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What is causing this approaching fertility crisis?

Swan believes this recent in infertility has nothing to do with genetics. In fact, according to EHN, she attributes this to "everywhere chemicals." This refers to chemicals hidden in plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides. Phthalates and bisphenol-A affect the endocrine system, she says, which has led to decreased sperm counts, raised miscarriage rates, early puberty in women, and genital abnormalities in women. She also believes that smoking and rising obesity levels may to blame as well.

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Carnegie Mellon University chemist, Terry Collins, attested to this point during a webinar hosted by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, as per EHN.

"Nothing you do – hardly anything – no, I think maybe nothing you do, from when you get up in the morning to when you go to sleep, is not permeated by chemicals that chemists have made," Collins said.

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What kinds of things affect the endocrine system?

As previously mentioned, harmful chemicals such as parabens and phthalates can take a toll on the endocrine system. They're compounds often found in lotions and cosmetics, and they most often are labeled as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. That said, we recommend looking out for them in the products you buy, and avoiding them as much as possible.

Chemicals in plastics are also thought to be endocrine disruptors. So, consider eating your leftovers out of glass jars, buying glass containers, and drinking water out of a steel or glass water bottle. Avoiding these chemicals for the safety of your reproductive system may be best, for the sake of your fertility. Also consider speaking to a doctor or fertility specialist if you're concerned.

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