Unexplained infertility and global warming are without a doubt significant threats to the inhabitants of planet Earth. Despite a plethora of career ecologists who seem to be unaware of a pertinent comment made by Professor Sir Tom Devine when he said that “any view of a historical event that is one dimensional, is likely to be an erroneous view.“ and while global warming may be a serious threat to humankind, there are other ecological threats and this is where declining human fertility raises its significantly head, because any species with an inability to reproduce effectively, is a compromised species with a doubtful future.

Many individuals and couples have been in the situation where after conception has failed to happen, they have been through a raft of tests suggested by G.Ps or consultants. Too often, once the fact of their infertility has been determined and no clear reason for that infertility has been discovered, they are simply left with a diagnosis of “Unexplained infertility.“

Susan Neville in a cutting edge article in a recent Financial Times weekend magazine, has looked into the work of Dr. Shanna Swan, a formidable scientist, statistician and researcher who after gaining her Phd, studied the links between the contraceptive pill, cervical cancer and unexplained miscarriages in Santa Clara County California. In 995, she was invited to join a National Academy of Sciences Committee tasked with investigating hormonally active substances in the environment and because Swan was the only statistician present in that group, she was asked to review a Danish study claiming to show a significant fall in sperm counts noted over the fifty three year period between 1938 and 1991. Swan was told by her peers that there was probably nothing significant in the claim of a senior Danish doctor who had noticed that the sperm counts in semen samples in his lab had been falling for some time.

However, Dr Swan turned the spotlight of her formidable intelligence and statistical acumen on this earth-shattering phenomena to underline for us the fact that any species which cannot reproduce adequately, is unlikely to survive for long. In the U.S. state of Missouri, Swan embarked on a study of the sperm quality and volume of various groups of people from both American and European backgrounds. It was when comparing these individuals and groups that Swan discovered that a commonly observed factor was the high levels of pesticides found in so many of these people. Sadly, her startlingly observed factor was being noted fifty years after

Rachel Carson’s pioneering ecological classic “Silent Spring” was first published. When Carson chose to call her whistle blowing study Silent Spring, she was commenting on and underlining the fact that a vast number of American songbirds were no longer in evidence just as American rivers and lakes at that time were being observed to be devoid fish. Carson put the blame for this alarming situation firmly down to DDT and other commonly used crop pesticides.

Although one might find it difficult in conscience to countenance experiments on animals, Swan discovered that when various chemicals found in pesticides were fed to laboratory rats, the animals demonstrated various adverse effects which included smaller penis size malformed penis and undescended testicles, all of which can play a significant part in impaired sexual function and fertility. By now, Swan’s internal alarm bells were ringing and for close to twenty years, Swan as a Berkeley trained epidemiologist has devoted her life to studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs, which are known to interfere with the human body’s natural hormones. Unfortunately these EDCs include bisphenol which is used to harden plastic so that it can be used in food storage containers and packaging and items such as garden hoses.

In recent years EDCs have been observed in breast milk, placental tissue, blood, urine and seminal fluid, so the Just Stop Oil campaigners may only be addressing one single factor in a plethora of problems threatening our species. As Professor Devine has pointed out for us, things are often more complex than they might seem.

Here at the Glasgow Complementary Medicine Centre we use acupuncture and homeopathy to help with hormonal imbalances and see many conceptions that run to term and result in positive outcomes.