Worldwide close to 50 million couples are unable to conceive after five years of trying, states a recent report.
A recent World Health Organization report of 277 national surveys estimates that infertility rates have remained consistent over the past 20 years, with North Africa and the Middle East showing the strongest negative trends in reproductive fertility.
Gretchen Stevens of WHO led the study, which looked at fertility trends in 190 countries. Researchers found that 1.9% of women over the age of 20 who wanted a child were unable to conceive, while 10.5% of those who had already given birth were unable to have another child.
Rates varied across regions, with the Middle East and North Africa showing a higher level of increased infertility (2.6%), compared to other regions (1.6%).
According to ScienceDaily.com, the study stated that, “Independent from population growth and worldwide declines in the preferred number of children, we found little evidence of changes in infertility over two decades, apart from in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”
According to the Mayo clinic, the cause or causes of infertility can involve one or both partners, with one third being due to the male partner, one third the female and one third involving both the man and woman.
Growing concerns about the role of environmental toxins on fertility have led many to advocate for better research and reduced exposure to agents thought to harm reproductive health.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States now reports that, “research suggests that environmental contaminants can affect a woman’s menstruation and ovulation. Low-level exposures to compounds such as phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin, and pesticides are suspected risk factors.”
image of pregancy, Shutterstock
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