Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2022
The gathering storm – the creation of an Infertility TrapWhile previous publications have looked at individual aspects of the issues shaping our population size, the reality is that many different factors are working together to drive human fertility into a cul-de-sac of its own making. From a social perspective many young people, particularly young, educated women, do not feel that life’s purpose necessarily involves the creation of a family. As fertility rates fall, this lack of interest in procreation will be reinforced by the economic pressures placed on a dwindling workforce to achieve the productivity needed to support the swelling ranks of elderly citizens. We shall not be able to turn to immigration to solve this problem because the fall in fertility rates is global and the barriers to international movement put up by COVID will persist for some time to come. Affluent societies are also characterized by lifestyles, diets and levels of environmental pollution that negatively impact reproductive health. These features, when coupled with the lack of selection pressure on high fertility in modern industrialized societies, and the ability of ART to encourage poor fertility genotypes to remain within the population, will combine to drive fertility down to historically low levels.
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