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15 February 2008
Call For Investigation Into Endocrine Disruptors
by George Atkinson

Infertility will become more prevalent in generations to come, notes a new report in the British Medical Journal, with the researchers suggesting that investigation into the environmental chemicals that can disrupt the development of sexual organs is warranted.

Infertility is an increasingly common problem in affluent societies, note the researchers behind the report, from Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark and the University of California. They believe it affects around 15 percent of couples trying to conceive and up to 6 percent of children are conceived through assisted reproductive techniques.

Interestingly, the researchers believe that cultural and social norms may be masking more subtle biological downward trends in fertility. They predict that fertility will decline over time, even if no environmental causes are identified. This is because, with the advent of assisted conception, sub-fertile couples may have as many children as fertile couples, so genetic factors linked to infertility will become more prevalent in the generations to come.

Rather than focus on assisted reproduction techniques, the report contends that the best way to counteract infertility and help couples to have children naturally is to deal with the avoidable causes of infertility. The endocrine disruption hypothesis - which states that environmental chemicals may cause adverse development of sexual organs by interference with hormonal regulation - is just one of many hypotheses that deserve attention from funding agencies, they conclude.

Related:
Association Between Common Chemical And Genital Development
Mothers' Diet To Blame For Sons' Low Sperm Count?
More Questions On PCBs And Their Effect On Sperm And Male Fertility
Phthalates - Expanding Our Waistlines And Shrinking Our Dicks?

Source: British Medical Journal




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