Is There a Fertility Crisis?
Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
One in ten couples in the U.S. experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fertility rates have decreased worldwide from 5.06 births per woman to under two. While environmental factors are a contributing factor, male fertility has also been declining. Learn about treatment options for male factor infertility. Posted below are some examples of treatments for male factor infertility.
Infertility affects one in 10 couples in the U.S.
Although there are numerous factors that contribute to infertility, one of the most common is age. Approximately one-third of infertile couples are infertile in both sexes. Many of these factors are treatable. Drug therapy and surgical repair of reproductive organs are available. Women can also undergo assisted reproductive techniques to conceive a baby. About one-third of infertile couples have tubal factors. Infection or endometriosis are two causes of blocked tubes.
If a couple tries for one year without success, they are considered infertile. Those over the age of 35 are required to undergo a six-month evaluation before their condition is officially diagnosed. Infertility is not the same as miscarriage or failure to carry a child to term. One in three couples are infertile for an unknown reason.
Assisted reproductive technology has become increasingly popular. More than half of infertile couples in the U.S. undergo some sort of fertility treatment. In vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and preimplantation genetic screening are the most common methods for infertility. But the number of infertile couples is increasing, and a more modern procedure has been developed that improves fertility rates.
Infertility is an emotional and physical challenge that many couples face. It affects the sex role of the woman and male sex. The loss of a child is a painful experience for both partners. Infertility also affects the couple's self-esteem, sex-role identity, and level of contentment. In addition to the psychological impact of infertility, the couples may feel a sense of loss and diminished self-esteem.
While insurance plans provide coverage for infertility treatments, the majority of them only cover a portion of the cost. Most health plans only cover a portion of the cost, and there are some states that limit the amount of coverage. For example, there are benchmark plans that cover some infertility treatments. These benchmark plans are available on most individual and small group plans. Two other states require group health plans to include infertility coverage, but employers are not required to choose them.
Global fertility rates have dropped from 5.06 births per woman to under 2.1
According to the World Bank, global fertility rates have declined from 5.06 births per woman in 1950 to under 2.1 in 2019. Fertility rates are lower in more developed nations, which are attributed to the introduction of contraception and the reduction in child deaths. Similarly, more women are pursuing higher education and careers, which contributes to lower fertility rates. However, if these factors are not addressing the root causes, the decrease in fertility rates might not be the result of the changes in societal norms.
While the numbers of children being born worldwide are decreasing, they are still far higher than the replacement rate of the world's population. The replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. Countries with lower fertility rates risk experiencing aging populations or population shrinkage. Nonetheless, the decrease in fertility rates has many advantages, including the potential to ease the strain on social and infrastructure programs. Ultimately, the decrease in global fertility rates may lead to a decrease in the population size and the ability of societies to support the aging population.
➡️READ: Natural treatments for male infertility
As a result of these factors, fertility rates have fallen drastically in developed nations. While the United States and Japan experienced the highest fertility rates, Taiwan never implemented the one-child policy. Yet, Taiwan has experienced the same decline in fertility rates as China and even lower, falling below one child per woman. Ultimately, the number of children born per woman is determined by social and economic conditions, not by the one-child-policy.
While the causes of this problem are complex, they are unrelated to sperm counts. There are several contributing factors to this decline in fertility. While it's impossible to attribute these factors to individual causes, the global fertility rate has declined since the 1950s. The decline is unrelated to religion and does not have a direct link to the number of births per woman. Nonetheless, it is important to note that some factors such as smoking, obesity, and other chemicals have been linked to the decline.
One reason why global fertility rates have fallen is that women are better educated. Educated women are more likely to be educated, and fewer children means better time for the parents of each child. This, in turn, reduces the gap between desired and actual children. Changing social norms is also a contributing factor. Education is a crucial prerequisite for changing these.
Environmental factors play a role in male fertility decline
While age does play a role in the decline of male fertility, it is not the sole cause. Lifestyle factors, such as lack of sleep, electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, and intensive exercise have also been linked to male infertility. These environmental factors, while not directly responsible for a man's decline in male fertility, can significantly influence the quality of his semen. Therefore, a combination of these factors can make a man less fertile and more likely to miscarry.
Exposure to air pollution has been linked to poor sperm quality. Heavy metals in the exhaust can disrupt hormone levels, resulting in abnormal sperm morphology and infertility. Other risk factors include particulate matter, which can collect in reproductive organs. Exposure to air pollution can cause DNA fragmentation, which may lead to decreased sperm quality. The effects of pollution on male fertility are widespread.
Exposure to organochlorine pesticides is another risk factor. These chemicals, including DDT, can disrupt the thyroid and hormones involved in male fertility. In particular, DDT causes damage to sperm motility, immobility, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Even after decades of use, organochlorine pesticides are still present in the environment and can negatively impact male fertility. This is not to mention the impact of a male's diet.
Nevertheless, the effects of these environmental factors on sperm quality are unclear. The effects of elevated temperatures on HSP70s are largely dependent on their ability to fold and assemble proteins. Because they play a key role in spermatogenesis, environmental factors that disturb HSP70s regulation may negatively affect male fertility. An example of this is a study on 37 infertile men. They had significantly higher levels of HSP70 compared to fertile men. Furthermore, the HSP 70 level was higher in their spermatozoa, which indicates that this protein is a protective mechanism against apoptosis.
Researchers have shown that the concentration of copper sulphate in the urine is associated with reduced sperm motility in men. These findings suggest that heavy metals such as cadmium chloride and copper sulphate may also contribute to male infertility. More research is needed to determine which factors affect male fertility and how these factors can be reduced. The article also notes that women's weight and age are both risk factors for declining male fertility.
Treatment options for male factor infertility
If you are in a fertility crisis, there are several treatment options available to you. One option is donor semen, which may be used to create a pregnancy when a woman's sperm are not large enough to fertilize an egg. Donor semen is an alternative for women who do not have a male partner. IVF with ICSI is also an option, but this procedure can be expensive and invasive. Donor eggs are sometimes used in IVF in women who no longer produce usable eggs. They are also commonly used for women who are approaching or in menopause.
Treatment for male factor infertility in sex is also available for men who are experiencing infertility. While there is no one single cause of infertility, most treatment options require the active participation of both partners. Although there is a high risk of side effects, if one partner is unable to conceive, a doctor may prescribe medication to help.
Testing your sperm is important for couples who are experiencing a fertility crisis. A testicular biopsy can reveal a problem with sperm transport, but can't guarantee pregnancy. However, specialized sperm function tests can detect if your sperm are incapable of establishing a successful bond with an egg. However, these tests don't alter the treatment recommendations. Treatment options for male factor infertility in a fertility crisis should be aimed at achieving pregnancy.
While fertility treatments can help couples who have trouble conceiving, you should be aware of the costs involved. Most treatments can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Your insurance may not cover all of them, so you'll need to seek out information about the costs and success rates of each option. You should also be aware of the risks associated with each procedure. You can't guarantee how successful your treatment will be, but a doctor should be able to help you make an informed decision.
You may also need to find out if your insurance covers infertility care. Your employer may have already included this coverage in your plan. If not, you'll have to look elsewhere for coverage. Most women's insurance policies do cover fertility care, but it may not. So, your doctor can recommend treatment for male factor infertility as soon as possible. In some cases, doctors may even prescribe medications to help women get pregnant.
There's a natural option
If a man is suffering from infertility, one of the first action points is to analyze his nutrition and exercise. Nutrition has a massive impact on hormone levels and reproductive health, as does exercise. Other factors such as sleep, drug use and alcohol consumption also matter.
Once these are addressed, using a supplement can also help. Opt for one that includes clincially proven nutrients in evidence based doses for maximum effects.