Why Fertility Rate Is Dropping Worldwide: Expert Explains 6 Reasons Behind Declining Birth Rate

According to a recent Lancet study, there has been a significant decrease in fertility rates worldwide. Rising infertility is a cause for global concern, which can affect people’s relationships and mental health. Talking about the issue, Dr Sandeep Talwar, Fertility Expert, Nova IVF Fertility, Vasant Vihar, shares, “Declining fertility rates are a global concern today. There has been a notable surge in infertility rates and a growing trend of delayed parenthood across India. To maintain population stability, a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1 children per woman is required, known as the replacement level. When the fertility rate falls below this threshold, populations start to decline. In India, the replacement level currently stands at 2.1. According to the recent Lancet report, the Indian fertility rate is projected to decrease to 1.29 by 2050 and 1.04 by 2100.” So what’s causing a drop in the fertility rate? Let’s check out what the expert has to say.

Six Reasons Why Fertility Rate Is Decreasing

Dr Sandeep Talwar says there are several factors contributing to the declining fertility. He lists the most common ones below:

1. Delaying Parenthood: Many individuals and couples are choosing to delay parenthood to fulfil their personal and professional obligations. This delay can lead to fertility complications as women’s reproductive capacity declines with age.

2. Industrialisation: Urbanisation and industrialisation have increased inflation and led to fast-paced lifestyles. Today, individuals are working towards strengthening their financial security before considering expanding their families. Research suggests a significant decrease in reproductive health within industrialised regions, due to Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that disrupt an individual’s hormonal balance and are found in everyday use items such as dishwashers, floor cleaners, water bottles, food packaging, electronic devices, personal-care products, cleaning supplies and many other common day-to-day items. In addition, exposure to occupational hazards such as harmful chemicals, PCBs and DDT are said to adversely affect fertility

3. Stress: Stress is an unavoidable facet of contemporary living and significantly influences one’s fertility rates. Furthermore, the diagnosis of infertility and the diverse treatments aimed at overcoming it can themselves become sources of stress. Hence, it is important for all, irrespective of their fertility timeline, to prioritize comprehensive health and well-being.

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4. Lifestyle Factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate nutrition, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins are among the top contributing factors impacting one’s fertility rates. These factors have the potential to disrupt hormone levels and affect fertility, thereby influencing the ability to conceive.

5. Digitalisation: Recent research indicates that Wi-Fi signals emitted by cell phones stored in pant pockets have detrimental effects on sperm motility and quality. Additionally, the blue light emitted by smartphones disrupts the natural production of melatonin in our bodies. Melatonin plays a crucial role in protecting eggs and sperm from heat-induced oxidative stress, ultimately leading to reduced sperm production.

6. Cultural and Religious Shifts: Changes in cultural and religious attitudes towards family size and parenthood have influenced fertility rates. Today, there may be a shift towards smaller families and nuclear families are common in urban areas.