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Asia's Declining Fertility, Can It Be Halted With Nutrition?

Demand for infertility treatment is high in Japan, where the number of live births fell for eight straight years to another record low last year. One in 4.4 couples in Japan has undergone tests or treatment for infertility, and the number of babies resulting from assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization stood at one in 11.6 in 2021. The country is home to the world’s second-highest number of assisted reproductive technology cycles after China, according to the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies. This builds the case that it might be Climate Change causing the difficulties.

Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, and faces rising sea levels, heat waves, floods and droughts, and increasingly intense and unpredictable weather events. Next week marks two years since Japan expanded public health insurance coverage to include a small number of infertility treatments. That stamp of approval is spurring even more demand and causing chronic shortages in hormonal drugs such as Duphaston, Provera and Norluten, according to the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Many people spend upwards of $50,000 US dollars for treatments.

According to CNN Tokyo Japan’s prime minister issued a dire warning about the country’s population crisis , saying it was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to the falling birth rate. In a policy address to lawmakers, Fumio Kishida said it was a case of solving the issue “now or never,” and that it “simply cannot wait any longer. In thinking of the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation’s economy and society, we place child-rearing support as our most important policy,” the prime minister said.

Japan has been attempting to boost its low and decreasing birth rate for some time. A 420,000 yen Childbirth and Childcare Lump-Sum Grant is now given to new parents in Japan following the birth of their child. Katsunobu Kato, the minister of health, labor, and welfare, wants to increase that amount to 500,000 yen $3300 US dollars. A small number of startups are stepping up to address infertility issues in Japan, where shortages of treatment options plague patients in a country grappling with one of the world’s lowest birth rates.

But Japan is not the only Asian country with record low birthrates. Singapore's total fertility rate fell to an historic low of 0.97! While Singapore's total fertility rate has been on a decline for many years, this is the first time it has fallen below 1.0. Last year, South Korea beat its own record for having the world's lowest birth rate, reporting 0.72 births per woman for 2023, down from 0.78 in 2022. In 2024, the rate is projected to fall even further to 0.68.China, where a strict one-child policy was in place from 1980 to 2015, has a birthrate of 1.4! Although the Philippines has one of the highest birth rates of Asian nations outside of India the birth rate for Philippines in 2023 was 19.579 births per 1000 people, or 1.9 TFR a 1.01% decline from 2022. The 2024 fertility rate in Vietnam is 1.85. Cambodia is 2.34. Cambodians and Filipinos have more melanin in their skin and thus they have higher birth rates than other non melanated Asians.

A Vietnamese gentleman remarked on the social site Quora "...when I saw Cambodian people, I thought the sun was the reason they are noticeably darker... I was very surprised when I found that people who live in even more southern regions than Cambodia were not darker, for instance Malaysians are generally lighter than Cambodians, so the sun doesn’t have anything to do with it (the complexion)." The Khmer people are an Austroasiatic ethnic group native to Cambodia. They comprise over 95% of Cambodia's population of 17 million. Natural born Khmer have Negroid morphology this means they're African ancestry is revealed in their appearance physiology. Khmer, also known as Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Filipinos admixed with the earlier pheomelanin dominant lighter skinned settlers, resulting in the modern Filipinos most seen in media – which though predominantly genetically Austroasiatic still show varying genetic admixture with Negritos C type afro textured hair (and vice versa for Negrito (dark skinned) ethnic groups which show significant Austronesian admixture).

The Austronesian peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, parts of Mainland Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austronesian languages. Taiwanese indigenous peoples, also known as Formosans, Native Taiwanese or Austronesian Taiwanese and formerly as Taiwanese aborigines, Takasago people or Gaoshan people, are the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, 569,000 or 2.38% of the island's population.

The Gaoshan population is has risen steadily. Most of them live on the since 2021 most live on the island's west coast, in the central mountains, and eastern valleys. The birth rate of the Gaoshan is higher than that of the average population, but their death rate is about two to three times above average. Approximately 97% of the population is made up of young people and only 3% are old people. There are more males than females, and the age for marriage is generally young. The timespan of childbearing for women is comparatively long. The educational and cultural levels of the Gaoshan minority are low. Most of the people earn their living by engaging in agriculture, together with additional activities in fishing and hunting; approximately 75% of the working people belong to this category. Only 14% are people who are working in industry, mining, commerce, and the transportation business. About 11% work in other professions. In recent years, the average income from agriculture and animal husbandry has gradually decreased, and the income from industrial wages and business has shown an obvious increase.


The Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people worldwide. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to the economic, social and governance challenges they face. The OECD’s 38 members are: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2024, the average age of mothers giving birth in all OECD countries was above 30. The average age of women giving birth to their first child in South Korea was 31. Scientists associate the decline in female fertility with the age-related decrease in the number of eggs contained within a woman’s ovaries. Each egg if fertilized, has the potential to grow into a baby. Unlike men, whose reproductive organs produce millions of fresh sperm on a daily basis, women are born with all the eggs that they will ever possess.

This number steadily declines as a woman ages: from one million eggs at birth to 300,000 by puberty, 25,000 by the age of 37 and 1,000 by the age of 51. Of all these, eggs only 300 to 400 eggs will have baby-making-potential normally just one a month will mature and be released from a woman’s ovaries through ovulation across her entire life. For reasons not yet fully understood, the rest undergo a natural process of degeneration and will never be ovulated. While egg counts decline as women age, so does the quality of the chromosomes and the DNA contained within each egg.

Most girls begin menstruating between nine and 13 years of age, but their ovaries don’t start releasing eggs until a least a year or two later. Simple mathematics would suggest a woman’s egg supply would then typically exhaust itself around 33 years later. And in most women, fertility does indeed tend to cease up to eight years before the onset of menopause, which for most women is around the time of their 51st birthday.

such crude calculations do not take the natural variability that can exist between women into account, or the time windows during which ovaries might release more than one egg in a month, or months in which no egg is released at all, they can give a rough estimate of just how long the female fertility timeline can be.

A more precise estimate of a woman’s egg count, also known as “ovarian reserve”, can be obtained by measuring the level of hormone called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in a woman’s blood. We now know that AMH, produced by the ovaries of fertile, adult women, plays a vital role in the metamorphosis of an immature egg cell into a mature, hopeful egg, complete with all the biological prerequisites to create a healthy baby. Better functioning ovaries, with larger egg stores, produce more AMH. Levels of the hormone decline as the timeline of female fertility progresses – average levels in 30 to 35 year olds are roughly two-thirds that of younger women while levels in women aged over 45 years are a quarter of those seen in women in their 20s.

A recent study of women in Nigeria showed that women with early age at menarche had significantly higher AMH as young adults! While egg counts decline as women age, so does the quality of the chromosomes and the DNA contained within each egg. While approximately 40% of the eggs in the ovary of a woman who is 30 years old is healthy, this rate decreases by 20% when the person turns 40. The average age for a black woman to give birth in the US is 28.Previous studies have repeatedly found that one of the reliable predictors of the sex of the offspring is the age of the parent. Older parents are significantly more likely to have daughters than younger parents. People who live in areas with a lot of sunshine have higher AMH in the summer which increases your vitamin D so your AMH levels rise naturally. research shows that people can encourage your body to naturally raise levels of AMH by eating a diet which is rich in necessary nutrients, such as vitamin D and avoiding photolysis.

Photolysis occurs in populations without Eumelanin and lowers birth rate and life expectancy. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in high levels suppresses essential molecular and cellular mechanisms during early development in living organisms and variations in solar activity during early development may thus influence their health and reproduction. There is no scientific study proving that eating sweet potatoes can influence the chances of having twins but, the Yoruba people of Nigeria have the highest rate of twins in the world. Interestingly, they eat many sweet potatoes - its a staple food in their diet. Yoruba women were found to have a 15.5% higher serum AMH level than women of other ethnic groups. There are a few foods that naturally increase the rate of ovulation and stimulate ovaries to release multiple eggs. Such hyper-ovulation stimulating foods include cassava (an African wild yam or sweet potato).

The Nigerian city Igbo Oro is famous for its high birth rate of twins, with 50 sets of twins in every 1000 births. Depending on the birth order, they are called Taiwo or Kehinde. The unusually large number of twin births in the region has earned the town the nickname Twin Capital of the World. This phenomenon of a large number of twin births is not unique to Igbo-Ora; it has also been observed in the town of Kodinji in India, and Cândido Godói in Brazil. In Igbo-Ora, research has suggested that the multiple births could be related to the eating habits of the women in the region. Though no direct relation between dietary intake and twin births has been proven, a research study carried out at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital has suggested that a chemical found in Igbo-Ora women and the peelings of a widely consumed tuber (yams) could be responsible.

Other African nations where yams and cassava are a staple also reported high twin birth rates. The central African country of Benin has the highest national average of twinning, with a whopping 27.9 twins per 1,000 births for the nation! In 1999, out of 2.8 million twins born worldwide, nearly 1.1 million (41%) were born in Africa; 39% were born in Asia. In the US African-American women are more likely to have twins than any other race. Asian and Native Americans have the lowest twinning rates.

In Africa the addition of Hemp milk to an infants diet that has a twin can increase the survival rate of twins who have to rely on Mother's milk at birth. Hemp grows quickly and the milk made from the seed is highly nutritious and safe for infants. Yes! Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are terrific ingredients to add nutritional value to your baby’s diet and to help with that ever-present challenge: constipation. Nutritionally, hemp seeds are a complete protein, which means that they have all the essential amino acids that your baby’s body needs to thrive. They are also a great source of critical essential nutrients: copper, fiber, selenium, vitamins A and B6, and zinc.

  • Whole hemp seeds are housed in their hulls (tough outer shells) which offer lots of soluble fiber, a nutrient that’s often lacking in a human’s diet. Because they are crunchy, they’re not the easiest food for early eaters to digest.

  • Hulled hemp seeds (hemp heart seeds) are free of the crunchy outer shell, but still offer lots of protein, healthy fats, and tons of nutrients. Hemp hearts are easier to digest, easier to sprinkle on meals, and easier to serve to your baby.

  • Hemp milk is produced by grinding seeds, soaking them in water, and straining to separate the solids from the liquid. Hemp milk contains healthy fats and many nutrients but not as much fiber. Be sure to read the labels: hemp milk may contain additives like sugar and binders such as carrageenan and gums—which are not great for babies (or adults).

  • Hemp seed oil is made by pressing the oil from the whole seeds. It’s full of essential fats! Do not heat hemp seed oil, as it will go rancid and can contribute to cellular damage.

  • Hemp flour is made from the leftover solids after oil is extracted. Hemp flour is full of nutrients, but lacks much of fiber and healthy fats that are found in the whole seed.

  • Hemp seed protein powder is what remains after sifting hemp flour. The powder offers lots of protein and nutrients, but lower amounts of healthy fats and fiber.

Chromosomes problems also inhibit healthy births chromosomes are bundles of tightly coiled DNA that hold the genetic information needed for a baby to develop. A human egg contains 23 chromosomes – the half of your genetic code that comes from your mother – which combines with the 23 chromosomes from your father’s sperm to develop into an embryo. An egg with too many or too few chromosomes, broken or damaged chromosomes will often fail to develop properly. In some cases a baby can still be born with chromosomal abnormalities, as happens with Down’s Syndrome a remnant of Neanderthal genes these genes are thought to contribute to other conditions as well such as autism, and schizophrenia. Neanderthal DNA has also been linked to auto-immune diseases like Graves' disease , rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus and Crohn's disease, which causes inflammation of the gut. The negative effects in modern humans may have been triggered by changes to our lifestyles over thousands of years.

Ireland tops the countries with the highest rate of Down syndrome prevalence, as its incidence of the syndrome is reported to be 27.5 per 10,000 live births. Neanderthals had a phenotype of red hair blue or green eyes, and pale skin. Of the people with Down syndrome in the United States: 67% are non-Hispanic and White, 12% non-Hispanic and Black, 15% Hispanic, 3% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1% American Indian or American Native. Africa's total population would reach nearly 2.5 billion by 2050. In 2023, the continent had around 1.36 billion inhabitants, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kemet as the most populous countries.

Cassava is consumed at low levels throughout the Philippines and Cambodia. In India and China consumption is localized in the southern regions where the highest birth rates are. For much of tropical Asia, cassava still has a modest role as a backup crop to rice - should the rice crop be in short supply, cassava will likely still have some yield. Sweet potato is also a major crop in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Pacific Islands. In South Asia, sweet potato is an important staple for food security

Editors Note: The word Niger is Latin for black, the word, "Kemet, in the Ancient Language of Kemet (Called Egypt by the Greek Colonizer) is translated to mean "black," "land of the blacks," or "the black land." Khem (also, Chem) is the Egyptian word for black.


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