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News Article

Why are male infertility rates rising?
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

“Professor John Aitken of the University of Newcastle says one in 25 babies born in Australia are now the result of IVF – and that’s not a good thing,” FamilyVoice national research officer Ros Phillips said today.

“He says we know much more about rising female infertility – where a significant factor is wanting to conceive at an age well past peak child-bearing  years.  But he said much less is known about why men become infertile – why they may have sperm, but the sperm are not able to fertilise the female egg.”

Prof Aitken said there are risks from IVF, which should not be seen as a simple solution to all infertility problems.  He said: “[T]he more we’re forced to use IVF in one generation, the more we’re going to need it in the next.”

Ros Phillips said some answers to Prof Aitken’s questions are already known.  “Sexually transmitted infections are at record levels in the Western world,” she said.  “Diseases like chlamydia can result in scarring of fallopian tubes, leading to female infertility.   Ducts in the male reproductive system may also be affected, leading to subfertility.

“But another factor may be the widespread use of oral contraceptives.  These are artificial female hormones that are not readily biodegradable.   There are growing concerns that once excreted, these hormones may later end up in water supplies, potentially affecting male fertility.  Normal filters cannot remove them,” Ros Phillips said.

“It might be a good idea to advise young men and women to follow the fool-proof way for couples to prevent sexually transmitted disease: chastity before marriage; faithfulness afterwards.”


  • Human life and dignity
  • Marriage and sexuality

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