Researchers said that climate change is likely to have long-term effects on parental fertility and reproductive health in general and harm new generations, so how?
When people think about how climate change will affect their lives, their concerns usually center on things like frequent and severe storms, wildfires, and melting glaciers.
There is not a lot of research on how climate change affects fertility, but there is growing interest in the role of long-term weather developments on reproductive health.
Impact of climate change on reproductive health
A recent paper, published in Fertility and Sterility, discusses the impact of climate change on fertility and the long-term health effects on parents and future generations.
“We can already observe climate-related impacts on reproductive health, and we are only at the beginning of the projected declines associated with continued global warming and an increased frequency of extreme events,” the study said.
According to the researchers, the frequency and intensity of exposure to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and infectious disease risks that people face will increase over time with increasing global warming, and for younger generations the burden of all these stresses will be heavy.
“Parents who are already dealing with the stress of infertility and treatment will face the added burden of climate change,” futurity quoted the researchers as saying.
Previous research has already linked global warming and extreme weather events due to climate change with multiple chronic complications such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as reduced fertility.
Before pregnancy, health problems associated with climate change contribute to an increased risk of pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy and gestational diabetes.
Even for fathers who can conceive without medical assistance, climate-related events may put them at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including pregnancy loss and premature birth.
The consequences of these climate-related events may increase depression and other mental health problems, as families deal with the loss of loved ones or possessions, long-term disruption of infrastructure and food insecurity.
While Audrey Gaskins, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins Public School, says demographic studies suggest that hot weather causes a significant drop in birth rates after 8 to 10 months, the motivations for this association are unclear.
While it is not yet known whether higher temperatures may affect ovarian function, understanding whether there is an association may have important implications.
And the parents website quoted Gaskins as saying: “Any association between ambient temperature and female fertility will also have important implications for future population size and structure, and is an essential input for models estimating the health burden associated with climate change.”