Is Human Fertility Declining and What Can We Do About It

Is human fertility declining? What is the cause and what can we do about it. Our guest is Dr. Shanna Swan, an award-winning scientist based at Mount Sinai Medical Center and one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists. She is the author of Count DownHow Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Is sperm count in human males declining? 
  •  Is this decline seen worldwide or just in developed countries?
  • Is sperm count the only measure of sperm health that is declining? Are we seeing a change in sperm motility or morphology also?
  • Do we see a change in the average testosterone level in men worldwide?
  • Do we know what is causing the decline in sperm count? 
  • Do we see a similar impact on women’s reproductive health?  And if so, how do we know?
  • Could the decline in the fertility rate be, at least in part, the result of a general trend toward delayed childbearing, access to birth control, move from an agrarian society where large numbers of children were valued, etc.? Certainly, so in the western world but also so in developing countries where girls have the opportunity for education and employment.
  • Has there been a reduction in the age of puberty in girls in the US. Worldwide?
  • If we are comparing current sperm count of men on a country wide basis to past sperm count how do we know we are comparing apples to apples? Couldn’t differences in studies techniques and who they studied account for the difference?
  • Has there been an increase in gender fluidity?
  • Has there been an increase in disorders of sexual development?
  • Can exposures to environmental toxins impact human sexuality and gender identity?
  • Can exposures in utero or childhood or adulthood that can impact sexuality and gender identity?
  • What lifestyle factors negatively influence fertility?
  • What environmental exposures affect fertility for both men and women and how do we avoid exposure? 

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: klimkin from Pixabay