Somewhere between 60-80 million couples around the world struggle getting pregnant and around 20% of these infertility cases are left “unexplained.” With that many infertile people in the world, it seems that we may not know all the causes of infertility yet, which is why more speculation has been brought to light in recent years. While some theories have been proven, there are a myriad of theories that point to things you would never think of that potentially harming your fertility.
Here is a comprehensive list of some of the most random infertility theories (believe what you wish):
Sciencedirect published a study this year on pesticides along with heavy metals, radioactivity, and poisonous fumes from organic chemicals in the environment largely contributing to erectile dysfunction, which is a major cause of male infertility. Today, 52% of men over 40 are suffering from erectile dysfunction, which has never been such an issue before.
2. Processed Meat
Attention men: your favorite meats may be making you infertile. This year, a study by the American Society for Reproductive Health showed a correlation between eating more processed meats such as bacon and sausage and the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg. They surveyed 141 men going through IVF procedures with their partners and saw that those who consumed the least amount of processed meat had a 28% higher fertilization rate (82% compared to processed-meat-lovers at 54%). On the other hand, more research published around the same time that concluded that eating chicken helps to boost male fertility.
Ever heard that you are trying “too hard” to get pregnant? Well, maybe it’s true. Regions with higher literacy rates in India have higher infertility rates. Why? Ferticon, a national medical conference in India, speculates that working longer hours and being exposed to higher levels of stress causes psychological imbalances and ovulation disorders. Another study done by Harvard University in early August also expresses a similar theory–women who worked over 40 hours a week took 20% longer to get pregnant.
By now, many people are aware that steroids can shrink your balls and encourage the development of breast tissue. One new aspect of steroids is that they are one of the leading preventable causes of male infertility. Long-term, taking steroids can kill off the cells that produce testosterone (which is very important in sperm production)!
Lubricants are great for making sex more pleasurable, but apparently not so great in the baby-making department. A study examined nine different lubricants and found that many of the brand-name products reduced sperm mobility. Oils, on the other hand, had little effect on sperm.
Similar to studies done on pesticides, plastics are another environmental factor that may lead to infertility. Specifically, one study conducted in Italy found that infertile couples were exposed to higher levels of phthalates, which are found in plastics and most commonly in cosmetics and other personal care products. The reasoning behind this study is that phthalates cause low sperm concentration and reduced sperm motility.
7. Gum Disease
Women who do not brush or floss may experience delayed pregnancy according to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). They compared the effects of gum disease (periodontal disease) to that of obesity, observing that gum disease can delay pregnancy by up to two months. In the past, periodontal disease has been associated with increased miscarriages, premature births, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease.
8. Artificial Light
On top of artificial light potentially messing with your internal clock at night, it might also mess with your fertility. Melatonin is also found in the reproductive tract and acts as a protector against free radicals that can potentially cause damage to eggs. If you are already pregnant, it may also affect the fetus’ health in the long-run.
9. Folic Acid Deficiency
Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins to promote pregnancy since it helps create red blood cells, which is a necessity for expecting mothers. A deficiency in folic acid causes anemia, which makes you feel weak and tired because not enough oxygen is being carried around by red blood cells. While you can find the B vitamin in foods like spinach, eggs, sunflower seeds, and grains, many doctors suggest to take supplements to ensure a decent intake while trying to get pregnant.
Some medications can interfere with pregnancy such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers. These drugs make your body produce more prolactin, which is a hormone that interrupts ovulation. To make sure you are promoting your most fertile self, it is always best to check with an obgyn to see which medications are safe.
11. Mobile Radiation
One of the most popular theories is that radiation from cell phones can play a significant role in reducing male fertility. About 85% of men keep their phones in their front pockets and the number of healthy young men with abnormally low sperm counts is increasing rapidly–correlation or coincidence? We think a correlation is quite possible: a large number of studies have been conducted that reveal that EMF radiation produced by cell phones can lower testosterone levels, reduce sperm concentration, sperm motility, and sperm viability, which all hugely impact fertility.
BONUS! Here are 3 weird things that may boost fertility:
1. Smelly Egg Gas
If a man talks to a doctor about trying to get his partner pregnant, they may tell him to stay away from saunas and tight boxer-briefs since overheating the testicles can reduce sperm production. A group of researchers from National University of Singapore discovered that the gas that smells of rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can protect men’s fertility against the harmful effects of overheating. Though still in preliminary stages, the study shows that the smelly gas aids the testicular germ cells with sperm functions.
2. Vampire Vagina Treatment
Unfortunately Edward Cullen does not have a role in this one. Almost as scary as it sounds, this vampire treatment, called the O-shot, is similar to that of the recently popular “vampire facelift,” where blood is drawn from the arm and run through a centrifuge which isolates platelet-rich plasma, which are then injected into the upper vagina, which supposedly helps promote the growth of healthier tissue. The main goal of this treatment is to help women with sexual dysfunction, since there is really no equivalent to Viagra for women. It also helps with pain during intercourse, increases libido, and frequency of orgasms.
3. The Sunshine Cure
Maybe all you need is a bit of sun–scientists think that exposure to sunlight may boost fertility in women by a third. One of the most likely factors of this theory being the increased exposure to vitamin D, which helps women produce higher quality eggs.
What do you think is the weirdest theory?
What theories do you believe?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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