Rising Infertility Rates – What We Know and What To Do, Part 1

Rising Infertility – What We Know and What To Do

In 1978, in vitro fertilization was an achievement. However, infertility has become so much more prevalent, and now fertility treatments are big business. It raises the question: Is this an industry because people are less patient about making babies, or is there a real fertility concern here?

There are two points of view here:

A recent article pertaining to male fertility published data suggesting that between 1973 and 2011, men’s sperm counts were down worldwide… by over 50%.[1] The researchers went on to say there wasn’t a lot more room for error. Further drops in overall sperm counts and we would likely have an epidemic of infertility.

Conception is a growing concern. We’re seeing more media and more speculation by parents-in-waiting as infertility rates have escalated in the last few generations. Now that artificial insemination and related fertility practices have been around for a while – 40 years, to be precise – shouldn’t such an investment have a better return? Studies show in vitro methods are little better than continuing to try naturally. If this is the case, shouldn’t we be looking into why making babies these days is becoming more and more difficult?

A classic analogy underscoring our concern is a long-ago series of experiments performed on cats, called the Pottenger’s Cats experiments.[2,3]

Pottenger’s Cats and Modern “De-Fertility”

The study divided cats into five groups – each fed differently. One group was fed an “adequate” diet of raw milk, cod liver oil, and raw meat. The remaining groups were fed half as much raw meat as the “adequate” diet, and the raw milk was replaced with either pasteurized milk, evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk. In the last group, the cod liver and meat was removed and “metabolized” milk was fortified with vitamin D.

The cats that were fed raw meat and raw milk did fine. Very few health concerns, generally good disposition, and they made healthy babies. The replacement of raw milk with pasteurized, evaporated, condensed, or “metabolized” milk led to behavioral changes (females more aggressive, males more docile), deformities of bone and dentition, affliction with parasites and infectious disease. Subsequent generations of cats born from these groups experienced a higher rate of aborted pregnancies, still-births, and infertility until, within several generations, the cats of these groups died out. There simply were no more offspring. These observations were realized soonest in the most highly refined food groups (sweetened condensed milk group, evaporated milk group).

Are we following suit?

Autism, behavioral problems, depression, bipolar, and numerous other developmental disorders appear to be on the rise. Infertility in both men and women are also on the rise. Many of the traits exemplified by this study on cats are emerging in modern industrial culture.

Our diet has changed so much in the last hundred years. Industrial milling, pasteurization, preservatives, fertilizers and pesticides: these are many of the modern agricultural conveniences, but the food we are left with… how has that changed us? Even our fresh produce is completely deficient relative to that from even three generations ago.[4]

Now: Our Toxic Food & Our Toxic Environment

With this transition into an industrialized culture – the pollution, the depleted soil, and the quality of processed foods we choose to eat – are we now living the Pottenger’s model? People are getting sick at an earlier age, we are getting more severe forms of illness at an earlier age, and we are – both men and women – becoming afflicted with “de-fertility.”

We need to start addressing fundamentals. What are we doing about the habitat we grow our food in? What’s in the food that keeps it growing in depleted soils? What about off-gassing we hear so much about… from factories and into our waterways? This toxicity… whatever it is: from farms, factories, and now drug remnants in the water we drink, what can we do about it? The first step is to get tested. Taking on everything is an uphill battle few can manage. Those elements that prove to be most prevalent from one individual to the next are the ones that need to take priority. In our next blog, we’ll take a closer look at biochemical individuality and what that means for fertility…


  1. Sifferlin A. Men’s Sperm Counts are Down Worldwide: Study http://time.com/4871540/infertility-men-sperm-count/: Time; 2017.
  2. Pottenger FM, Jr. The effect of heat-processed foods and metabolized vitamin D milk on the dentofacial structures of experimental animals. Am J Orthod Oral Surg. 1946 Aug;32:467-85. PubMed PMID: 20996778. Epub 1946/08/01.
  3. Pottinger F, M. Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition. 2nd ed. Lemon Grove, CA 91945: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation; 2012.
  4. Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. PubMed PMID: 15637215.

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