Of American women ages 15 to 49 who have not yet had children, 19 percent fail to conceive within a year. According to the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the American RIVM) definition, they are infertile.2 That percentage is 13 percent higher than twelve years ago.3 It is a global trend, and the problem is not only with women .
Shanna Swan is an epidemiologist who studies the relationship between environment and fertility. In 2017, she published a study that quickly went “viral” for its disturbing results: The number of sperm in semen dropped by almost 60 percent between 1973 and 2011.4 And there’s more to it. In her book Count down: how our modern world is threatening sperm counts, altering male and female reproductive development, and imperiling the future of the human race (Scribner, 2021), it is not just sperm counts that are falling. The amount of testosterone drops just as fast: by 1 percent per year.
The number of cases of testicular cancer and miscarriages is also increasing at the same rate. Swan draws shocking conclusions about the reproductive system of the current generation of young people: a young man today has about half the number of sperm cells his grandfather had when he was the same age.
And in many countries, a woman now in her 20s is less fertile than her grandmother when she was 35. Swan is a professor at the New York School of Medicine. She has been researching reproduction for years. In 1992 she started her research into sperm counts in men. The British Medical Journal had just published that the quality of sperm cells in men had decreased by 50 percent.5 ‘I was, and still am, really scared by these results. Also for me personally,’ she says. “We are in a dangerous situation, for fertility and for all of humanity.”
According to her, the world is heading for a low point in its existence. A bit like in the movie Children of Men, or in the series The Handmaid’s Tale, where all hope is lost because there are no more children. The change in fertility is too fast to attribute to our genes. Something, or a number of things, in the environment must be causing this damage. Moreover, it is a blow, not only socially and economically, but also personally for any couple who are unable to have children.
A story from Kenya
Antoninah Mutinda from Kenya’s first pregnancy lasted three weeks. The second about four, with her third pregnancy she had a miscarriage after ten weeks. Mutinda can be seen in the documentary Infertility: A diabolical agenda, which was released this year by CHD (Children’s Health Defense).
CHD deals with diseases that can be caused by chemicals.6 The film is about how African governments and health agencies deliberately gave women a tetanus vaccine that was known to cause women to produce antibodies against the hormone hCG. When a woman becomes pregnant, a lot changes in her body. First she will produce hCG. This hormone causes the ovaries to produce progesterone. And you need progesterone to carry a pregnancy to full term.
Mutinda was tested and found to have sky-high levels for antibody and against hCG. So her own immune system attacked the hormone she needed to carry her pregnancies to term. As a result, she kept miscarrying. But how does a healthy young woman contract this autoimmune disease? The documentary shows that for many years, from the 1970s, the World Health Organization supported research into the development of a vaccine against tetanus. And that while it is not certain whether that vaccine will not affect fertility.
A problem not related to the tetanus vaccine itself caused additional confusion: the Kenyan government allegedly added hCG to tetanus vaccines in 2013-2014. She wanted to ensure that fewer children were born. So the vaccines would have been used as anti-fertility vaccines. After extensive research, it turned out that this idea had been helped by a misunderstanding in the world.
The measurements were not reliable and on closer inspection there was no hCG in the vaccines. There were more suspicions. In the 1990s, the WHO also organized vaccination campaigns against tetanus in developing countries. She did this together with other international organizations, such as UNICEF.
There was also such a campaign in the Philippines. Only women and girls of childbearing age were invited for the injections, each time only a few months apart. Normally there are a few years between two tetanus shots, but this series was to protect newborn babies against tetanus. T
When samples of the vaccine were examined, they were again found to contain hCG. Of course that was not part of it. The WHO denied that the vaccines had been tampered with. But when Kenya then demanded that its vaccines be tested before the campaign there began, the WHO backed down. In October 2013, the WHO again launched a major tetanus vaccination campaign. And again it was only for women of childbearing age.
Normally, infants receive a tetanus vaccine. Pregnant women can get two extra shots at least a month apart to make sure their baby doesn’t get tetanus after birth. In the WHO campaign, all women and girls aged 15 to 49 received five injections six months apart. When people heard the story about birth control vaccines, alarm bells started ringing.
Gynecologist Wahome Ngare is president of the Kenya Catholic Doctors’ Association. He says that at a certain point they stopped trusting the WHO and UNICEF-sponsored tetanus campaign. They had the injection fluid tested by independent laboratories. Half of the samples were found to contain hCG.
It turned out afterwards that the lab had used the wrong method, based on incorrect information. So even now the measurements were probably wrong. But the mistrust remained. Later, the Kenyan government also had samples tested. No hCG was found in those samples. The lab did find that these vials had new labels stuck over the old ones. The original label and not only stated a different batch number, but also a different manufacturer. The government had deliberately provided vials of tetanus vaccine that had not been used in the vaccination campaign. “That there is a system somewhere, people, that make sure I can’t carry a pregnancy to term is a cruel idea,” Mutinda says in the documentary.
Yet tetanus vaccines are also vital in developing countries. Because if you get tetanus, you will almost always die without medical treatment. But because of vaccination, no one has to get tetanus anymore.
Not just in Africa
Vaccine-induced infertility does not appear to be limited to developing countries. Other vaccines have also been discredited because they would affect fertility. Much has already been written about this. Hard scientific evidence has never been found for this conjecture, but there are stories that seem to point to it.
This is how two Australian doctors, Deirdre Litt le and Harvey Ward, described the case of a 16-year-old girl. She had regular periods until she received her HPV vaccination against cervical cancer. Her periods stopped and she was diagnosed with “premature menopause”—an autoimmune reaction that makes you infertile.7 Two years later, they wrote a follow-up to this story, featuring more teens who had experienced premature menopause.
According to the authors, this was so rare in teenagers that it was still unknown.8 The doctors pointed to the worrying use of polysorbate 80 in the vaccine. This substance caused damage to the ovaries in female rats. That only happened some time after they had received the substance.9 In addition, the vaccine contains aluminum. This can damage the nerves and stimulate the immune system. In 2014, Jean-Philippe Klein and colleagues published a French study of aluminum in the semen of men at an infertility clinic.
They sent sperm samples from 62 men with fertility problems to a laboratory at Keele University in England, which conducts research into aluminum. There and the samples that were contaminated with aluminum light up blue. This happened most strongly in the men with the fewest sperm cells.10
Gayle DeLong is an associate professor of economics and finance at Baruch College at the City University of New York. She analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. That survey included 8 million American women ages 25 to 29. Using statistical methods, DeLong estimated how likely something is to occur.
Of the women who had not received an HPV vaccine, about 60 percent had given birth to at least one child. Only 35 percent of women who had received the vaccine. That means 2 million childless women and millions of children who were not born.11 DeLong said her research does not prove that the HPV vaccine is to blame. She did suggest that the vaccine could be to blame for the growing infertility. And she said more research is urgently needed. Her research was also withdrawn.