Experts predict most couples will need medical assistance to conceive by 2045 – as chemicals wreck our health.
Shanna Swan, professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York City, has spent years studying the patterns of chemical effects on the body.
In 2017, she documented how average sperm counts among western men have more than halved in the past 40 years.
Swan said that in following “the curve from the 2017 sperm-decline meta-analysis, it predicts that by 2045 we will have a median sperm count of zero.”
The hormone expert predicts most couples will have to resort to IVF or medication to assist with conceiving, claiming to have observed an increase in infertility in the younger generation.
She told The Guardian: “I am directly speaking to this hidden problem people don’t like to talk about, which is their sub-fertility or reproductive problems, and how that is tied to the environment.
“People are recognising we have a reproductive health crisis, but they say it’s because of delayed childbearing, choice or lifestyle – it can’t be chemical.
“I want people to recognise it can. I am not saying other factors aren’t involved. But I am saying chemicals play a major causal role. It is difficult to use that word, “cause”, but it’s a body of evidence. We have mechanisms, animal studies, and multiple human studies.
“When a colleague and I looked at the change in impaired fecundity [the ability to have children] we were surprised to see younger women had experienced a bigger increase than older age groups. This suggests that something besides ageing and delayed childbearing is affecting fertility.
“Moreover, there’s compelling evidence that the risk of miscarriage has been rising among women of all ages.”
Swan said that she and her researchers followed the patterns of chemicals entering the body from plastics and fertility problems and found a link.
Phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is used to make various types of plastic, can interfere with or mimic the body’s sex hormones – such as testosterone and oestrogen and disrupt fertility.
According to research published last year to BioMed Central, BPA “has been found to be more frequently detected in infertile women” and has also been proven to disrupt the success of IVF.
The paper written by Claudia Pivonello and other scientists said: “In procedures of medically assisted reproduction BPA exposure has been found to be negatively associated with peak serum estradiol levels during gonadotropin stimulation, number of retrieved oocytes, number of normally fertilized oocytes and implantation.”
Phthalates have been proven to affect male fertility and reduce sperm count – and has been doing so since it was added to plastics in the 1930s.
A 2006 study by Giuseppe Latini and other experts said: ” Unprecedented declines in fertility rates and semen quality of antenatal origin have been reported during the last half of the 20th century in developed countries and increasing interest exists on the potential relationship between exposure to environmental contaminants, including phthalates, and human male reproductive health.”