According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, if problems continue at the current rate, the entire human race could be infertile in just 50 years.
Although most research has focused on female infertility, new studies raise more alarms about the male side of the issue, revealing a sharp decline in sperm count and diminished motility (swimming ability) of sperm over the past four or five decades.
Yes, it looks as though libidinous young men have gone from sowing their wild oats to sowing their Shredded Wheat.
Granted, not everyone views the reports as settled science. Release of the disturbing data has led to further research and brainstorming of possible workarounds (brainwaves downloaded into robot bodies, cloning, etc.), as well as the sudden arrival of hordes of men opening jar lids, administering bone-crushing handshakes and changing perfectly good tires.
It’s humiliating to think we’ve reached the point at which political correctness will soon mandate the awarding of ribbons to sperm “just for participating.”
Researchers cite many factors that create a “perfect storm” that negatively impacts the quantity, size, shape and effectiveness of sperm. Among the factors are stress, alcohol, smoking, obesity, antidepressants, tight pants (”At least I’ll never father any kids to laugh at photos of me in these skinny jeans!”) and electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi routers.
So ... women interested in having a baby might line up in droves to woo teetotaling Slim Jim MacIntyre, that carefree, kilt-wearing guy who does his Skyping via snail mail.
We’re talking about a sobering future, in which men and women can no longer count on tossing a baseball with their kids or passing down a wedding gown.
I expect catastrophic changes in society as the problem steadily progresses. With no cute baby shower gifts to “Oooo” and “Ahhh” over, women will have to improvise. (”Those orthotic insoles! Those Depend undergarments! Awww ...”)
Neighborhood curmudgeons will yell, “You equally childless peers get off my lawn!”
As the number of young people paying into Social Security plummets, racy “Cosmopolitan” articles about “positions” will involve positions for praying that your measly Social Security check will pay for a pack of gum.
Of course, long-term, when there are no more replacements for us, the headlines will get really grim. (”Oldest/Youngest/Only Person On Earth Dies.)
All the earthly possessions we’ve stored up will have to find an owner other than a human heir. (”Rover, on these concrete blocks is the Mustang your great-great grandmaster left for you. You can hang your head out the window, but somehow it’s not the same as when I was a pup.”)
But there’s always hope. God is in control of mankind’s eventual fate, and I just don’t see him resorting to terminal infertility simply because of the lifestyle choices mentioned earlier.
On the other hand, don’t dismiss “man bun”-induced plagues of locusts. That’s something future generations (if there are any) will talk about forever.
Danny Tyree: can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.