A line diagram of the western world's declining fertility rate since 1970

Western World Crisis…Lowering Fertility Rates

It is a complex social and population issue; however, there are steps that can be taken but it requires us to be aware and have a general understanding.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, a trend of lowering fertility rates has been recorded in the United States with an all-time low of 62.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The US is not alone as similar trends are noticed throughout the Western World.  But “WHY?”

Several causes could be contributions for the declines from social impacts to environmental conditions. Fertility rates are declining in the USA, likely, due to both social and environmental conditions. One of the most fundamental problems revolves around lower egg reserve, also referred to as Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR), and simply delayed childbearing in women. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 2016, the mean age of mothers at first birth was 26.6 years, a new record for the United States. Another first occurred in 2016 and that was the fact that the birth rate of women aged 30-34 was higher than the rate of women 25-29. Simply delaying time to have a first child has natural implications on the fertility potential of the mother. All women have a biological clock and as they age their fertility potential decreases. For some the clock ticks faster than for others.   It’s not just the female factor that is contributing to the fertility rate decline as the male factor is contributing, as well.  Both sperm counts and sperm quality have been declining over the last 20 years.   The male and female factors combined are manifesting itself as lowering birth rates.

So, what should be done

Both women and men need to simply be aware of these factors.  If one is planning on waiting to become a parent until later in age, post 25 years of age, it is recommended that women, especially, monitor their egg reserve and understand the implications this can have on current and future fertility…it can be a life altering situation.

Often, women who are seen at MCRM Fertility state they, “wish they had known” the potential issues with declining egg reserve and what it means. Simple assessments during the course of routine “well woman” visits could lead to advanced knowledge and possible avoidance of months and years of frustrations and difficulties to conceive.

And men, the biological clock applies to you as well…and it is not just about “low T” and boosting testosterone levels!

Tune in and learn more about Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) and earlier fertility screening recommendations in this episode of Focus on Fertility.