NOVA: Fighting For Fertility
(DVD / PG-13 / 2021 / PBS)
Overview: In the United States, some 10% of people who wish to have children struggle with infertility. NOVA explores barriers to fertility, from the social to the biological, and the state of assisted reproductive technologies.
Follow the journeys of people navigating challenges from structural inequalities and racism to falling sperm counts, egg freezing, and IVF.
DVD Verdict: As noted above, in the United States, some 10% of people who wish to have children struggle with infertility. It’s especially common in the African American community, and fertility preservation can be difficult for transgender individuals as well.
But why is this? And what can be done about it? NOVA follows the journeys of people facing barriers to fertility, from the social to the biological, and navigating assisted reproductive technologies.
Scientists and leaders in the African American community explore how racism contributes to infertility. Couples using IVF experience the challenges of low sperm count, egg freezing, and the ambiguity of mosaic embryos.
And a transgender man explores fertility preservation, and his ability to give birth and create the family he hadn’t thought possible.
The pain and joys of each story highlight the complexity of infertility in America, where both groundbreaking science and stark inequalities shape what it means to have a family.
Well, one of the things that is brought to light is that over the past 40 years, sperm counts in men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have dropped by over 50 percent, researchers reveal.
Researchers examined 7,500 studies conducted between 1973 and 2001. They selected 185 studies with consistent counting methods and performed analyses on data from almost 43,000 men.
Their findings, released in Human Reproduction Update, showed that sperm concentration fell from 99 million per milliliter to 47.1 million per milliliter during the span of the study, indicating a 52.4% decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3% decline in total sperm count for men in these nations.
What’s more, the scientists found that the decrease in sperm count is not slowing. As sperm counts have implications for morbidity and mortality, these results raise potential concerns for health and fertility.
We watch along recounting numerous conversations with women who have walked the IVF journey, experienced challenges with infertility as well as miscarriages; sharing with women who decided to postpone pregnancy for whatever reason.
Recognizing women were suffering in silence and were unable to find a space to have safe conversations regarding infertility with family friends or at church; and realizing the black community is not having real talk about infertility and reproductive health, are other reasons that make this new PBS documentary as power as anybody could ever hope for such a program to be. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
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