Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 08-13-2019, 05:32 PM
Ponderoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Off the Deep End
Posts: 668
If the sterility happens to all men instantly overnight, the number of new patients showing up for prenatal care will not drop instantly to zero overnight some X days later. There's no one fixed time for all mothers in between impregnation and when mom notices she's pregnant. I agree the prenatal care professionals will notice the drop in new patients very soon after it's statistically significant, a time measured in days, not weeks. I have no idea what the shape of that curve will look like, except I am 100% sure it won't be a sharp drop off a cliff.

ETA: ninja'd by begbert2. *shakes fist*
__________________
--
That's my post. Hope you liked it!

Last edited by Ponderoid; 08-13-2019 at 05:34 PM. Reason: ninja'd
  #52  
Old 08-13-2019, 05:39 PM
thorny locust is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 984
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Sure, but their signups are going to be staggered and still coming in weeks after Day Zero (to the degree there is a day zero). Any given office would probably notice a statistically significant dip in applicants within a month, but given that these things aren't going to have been coming in at a constant rate anyway they probably aren't going to freak out until they've had time to confirm that the dip is not only present, but unusually persistent - which means giving it time to see whether the numbers will come back up.

I mean, absent foreknowledge that birth rates are going to be ending forever everywhere, a week or two of lighter work isn't cause for a panic; it's cause to actually go home on time and get a good night's sleep for a change.
True; but a total disappearance of first-trimester appointments is going to be obvious. So within about three months after day zero it's going to be really obvious that there's a problem.

And that's if it's relatively sudden, so that the years and even months before had at most a slightly diminished birthrate. If the gradual dropoff is gradual enough, that is over ten or twenty years, there isn't going to be as sharp a dividing line. But if it's a gradual steady dropoff winding up in zero births at the end of year 20, the rate's going to be low enough by the last few years to be causing major upset. While a steady dropoff over twenty years very likely wouldn't cause a lot of comment in the first year or two, it wouldn't get anywhere near even year 18 or 19 without being noticed, let alone to within a few months of no births at all.

The reason a drop in male fertility over the past years hasn't caused a lot of commotion is that there's a huge excess of male fertility to start with. The male fertility rate hasn't dropped enough to cause, by itself, a significant drop in the number of births -- the drop that has occured in many places has to do with a combination of better access to better birth control, an expectation that most children born will live to grow up, and a lack of societal support for the costs of raising children.
  #53  
Old 08-13-2019, 05:56 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,896
I feel that I may have confused the issue with my mention that the onset of sterility was "going to be gradual". I was talking about this post, and the "gradual" appears to be on the order of "over a few weeks" for the majority of the population to be covered, with a few outliers lasting perhaps a month or two beyond that (long enough for forcible testing to be set up to find them). A decline over years was clearly never meant to be in the cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
In the story, at first it'll just be a boom time for pregnancy clinics as lots more than the usual number of infertile couples seek help. Eventually someone is going to note the extreme number of sterile males (when not only the males from the couples, but also their sperm donors come up blank) and sound an alarm.1 No doubt there'll be studies that verify it and then a search for any non-sterile males. Perhaps they'll even find a few who haven't gone completely sterile yet (haven't decided on that, yet). No doubt there'll be panic and such when the word gets out. The story I'm actually thinking about will happen some years after. As I said, this is background for the story.

ETA: it's not going to be sudden in the story. It's going to be a gradual thing. Forget the Alien Space Bats, they aren't actually part of the story.


1 There already has been an alarm for greatly reduced fertility among men, at least in most of the developed world. It was first noted back in the 90s. So far, no panic among the general populace.
I confess I do wonder what's to be gained by having this all be over and done with by the time to story starts. After the furor dies down and a few years have passed, the main difference will be that nobody will be paying for preschool childcare, and that child murder (and maybe regular murder) will be treated as a capital or no-parole life offense. Oh, and the religions would probably be all wigging out on a continuous basis, even more than usual I mean.
  #54  
Old 08-13-2019, 06:05 PM
Miss Mapp's Avatar
Miss Mapp is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 3,149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
It's the booking department of the maternity hospital that will notice. "Oh look, it's half way through January, we've got our wards booked at about 80% full through to June, 50% first week of July, 20% second week, and absolutely zero after July 15th. Gosh, that's odd."
In The Children of Men (the book; I haven't seen the film), it was the staff at OB/GYNs offices who first noticed--they weren't making appointments for any new patients.
__________________
Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty, and she had taken advantage of this opportunity by being just a year or two older.
- E.F. Benson, "Miss Mapp"
  #55  
Old 08-13-2019, 06:49 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
In The Children of Men (the book; I haven't seen the film), it was the staff at OB/GYNs offices who first noticed--they weren't making appointments for any new patients.
These days, I wouldn't be surprised if the noticing was social media moderated also.

"Looks like we're going to be having a slack week in July. Too early to ask for time off? #bookingmyholidays"

"Huh - funny thing - my hospital's shaping up for a slack week in July too. Anyone else?"

Next stop, front page of the WaPo.
__________________
Science created the modern world. Politics is doing its best to destroy it.
  #56  
Old 08-13-2019, 08:25 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,169
Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
True; but a total disappearance of first-trimester appointments is going to be obvious. So within about three months after day zero it's going to be really obvious that there's a problem.
Before that the sale of pregnancy test kits is going to crater as very few women miss their periods.
When is the test valid? It's been a while since I had to worry about these things.
  #57  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:44 PM
Jay Z is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I feel that I may have confused the issue with my mention that the onset of sterility was "going to be gradual". I was talking about this post, and the "gradual" appears to be on the order of "over a few weeks" for the majority of the population to be covered, with a few outliers lasting perhaps a month or two beyond that (long enough for forcible testing to be set up to find them). A decline over years was clearly never meant to be in the cards.

I confess I do wonder what's to be gained by having this all be over and done with by the time to story starts. After the furor dies down and a few years have passed, the main difference will be that nobody will be paying for preschool childcare, and that child murder (and maybe regular murder) will be treated as a capital or no-parole life offense. Oh, and the religions would probably be all wigging out on a continuous basis, even more than usual I mean.
I think the imminent destruction of the entire human race would cause "wigging out" among pretty much everyone, with a fictionalization tending to underplay what would actually happen. Things would unravel much more quickly in real life.
  #58  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:42 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 6,977
Well, maybe I'd better give the scenario I'm thinking of. It's much different than most people here seem to be envisioning.

There's a virus that is very contageous, much more than say, measles or norovirus. It's been spreading throughout humanity without notice because it doesn't cause any overt symptoms, so just about everyone has it. Its major effect is that it decreases the sperm count of any male it infects, all the way to zero after somewhere between two and four years. Any boys who get it before puberty never generate any viable sperm.

I figure the first to see this trend will be someone at a fertility clinic, since I believe they do sperm counts for pretty much all the male partners of their clients as well as for any sperm donors. But they'll only be able to point to the trend, not determine its cause. Eventually they track the cause to this virus, but by then it'll be too late. Perhaps there will still be a few men who have some sperm and they'll be asked to donate to sperm banks as long as that lasts.

As far as the Alien Space Bats, the origin of this virus is mysterious. When they track it down, it seems to have popped up in several places at once, so it's suspected of being artificial. But who would do such a thing? Conspiracy theories about it being an alien attack abound..... (See "The Screwfly Solution" by Raccoona Sheldon for a similar story concept.)

OK, as I said in the OP, this scenario is pretty much impossible. There's almost certain to be some males who are not affected by the virus or only affected somewhat. But as I also said, don't fight the hypothetical.
  #59  
Old 08-14-2019, 06:37 AM
Author Balk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 73
One of my "thinking about things" a couple of months ago was a similar scenario. What would happen if there were no more human babies? What about housing? How about domesticated animals when the number of humans (caretakers) drop? Professions would start going away. No more high school football after a few years. And so on.
  #60  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:43 AM
Enola Gay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,533
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
The question is, how long could civilization last in this situation?

Some thoughts: only one sperm actually fertilizes an egg, but somewhere (likely here on the SDMB) I read that it actually takes a few million or so sperm to dig into an egg in order for that one sperm to do the fertilization. If that's true, the available sperm can't be spread out too thinly.
If ICSI-IVF is used (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), only one sperm is needed to fertilize each egg. There are likely hundreds of billions of sperm on ice in the US alone, so that could keep civilization going for hundreds of years. By that time, humans will have figured out cloning...at least sperm cloning.
  #61  
Old 08-14-2019, 02:21 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Z View Post
I think the imminent destruction of the entire human race would cause "wigging out" among pretty much everyone, with a fictionalization tending to underplay what would actually happen. Things would unravel much more quickly in real life.
Whereas I think that civilization is more resilient than most people think - in fiction there's some event and a few years later the whole planet's a desert. In reality I think that people will carry on - perhaps despondently, but they'd carry on.

And actually as extinction-level disasters go this one is really gentle, at least for the first few decades. Existing society will be essentially unaffected (unless you're Dr. BabyCatcher), with existing families with all their children and babies carrying on unaffected. Some people will freak out over the fact they can't have babies, but a good percentage of the population already can't or don't want to have more children. Some people will freak out over the impending existential end of humanity, but that's a pretty high level concern, and people still need to (and can) go to work and draw a paycheck. While some people will be troubled by the impending end, we're talking about something that's half a century away and most people can't internalize problems happening a month out.

The religions would be wigging out because they'd be trying to fit this into their predictions about the end of days, but everyone else both has to, and has no reason not to carry on as normal. Except Dr. Babydoctor, and Kelly Kindergardenteacher, and one career after another as society slowly, slowly spends the next century gently fading out. (Until power and food distribution finally fail, but that will only be in the final stages, and everyone will see it coming a mile off and maybe do something about that too.)

And no, I don't think that sperm preservation is a viable way to preserve humanity. Certainly not all of humanity, and while you might have pockets of such people, enclaves of baby-manufacturing civilization, I have doubts that any such enclaves would be large enough to form viable populations. Particularly once their sterile neighbors find out about them.
  #62  
Old 08-14-2019, 03:22 PM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 113
As far as trained fertility personnel go, I think there would be time to train up plenty of additional staff. Keep in mind that current fertility clinics serve people with infertility. So a couple might spend one or more years getting various tests and then moving through different levels of treatment. If the exact problem is already known, and priority is given to the most likely to be fertile patients, the number of pregnancies for each existing clinic would skyrocket.

I think this scenario would pretty quickly lead to alternative reproduction techniques. I suspect that, first, researchers would try to figure out how to get a line of male stem cells to develop into sperm. Part of that process has been done in mice already. (https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2001...-without-sperm). And stem-cell-like cells can be created from other mature cells from a person's body.


Also, while egg-only reproduction would be a new procedure, I think it might not take too long to develop, if its existence were literally necessary for the continuation of the human race. Multiple vertebrate species already have female only reproductive capability.

A pretty quick effect I think might be commodification of babies and young children, particularly in poor countries or populations. Migration of the young and fertile to the most affluent countries. A change in world demographics based on where the new technologies are available, and to whom (probably the world gets whiter).

Also, would there be a few medically isolated (like boy in a bubble) males who were uninfected, and would be used (asked/required) to produce sperm in the short term, at least?
  #63  
Old 08-14-2019, 03:30 PM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 113
Too late to edit to add: The biggest bottleneck would probably be the egg harvesting. Handmaid's Tale scenario, or poor women induced by money, or a national service type requirement are all possibilities I can see happening.

Last edited by eschrodinger; 08-14-2019 at 03:31 PM.
  #64  
Old 08-14-2019, 03:43 PM
filmore is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschrodinger View Post
Also, while egg-only reproduction would be a new procedure, I think it might not take too long to develop, if its existence were literally necessary for the continuation of the human race. Multiple vertebrate species already have female only reproductive capability.
What's everyone's opinion on how important "survival of the human race" would be to the people? I'm sure governments and scientists would be motived to find techniques to enable pregnancy, but how motivated would normal people be to go through that procedure? People typically have babies because they want babies or get pregnant by accident, not that they care about ensuring that future society is well populated. And even those people who want babies, not all of them are super motivated to make it happen. I think just a small percentage of people would make the effort to go through an IVF-type procedure even in such an environment.

Isn't Japan kind of having this problem today? They've been experiencing declining birth rates for some time. The government cares about increasing their population, but the population itself doesn't seem to be motivated to do anything about it. And they wouldn't need any fancy sci-fi to turn things around. Just having fun the old fashioned way would do it.
  #65  
Old 08-14-2019, 06:52 PM
Jay Z is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmore View Post
What's everyone's opinion on how important "survival of the human race" would be to the people? I'm sure governments and scientists would be motived to find techniques to enable pregnancy, but how motivated would normal people be to go through that procedure? People typically have babies because they want babies or get pregnant by accident, not that they care about ensuring that future society is well populated. And even those people who want babies, not all of them are super motivated to make it happen. I think just a small percentage of people would make the effort to go through an IVF-type procedure even in such an environment.

Isn't Japan kind of having this problem today? They've been experiencing declining birth rates for some time. The government cares about increasing their population, but the population itself doesn't seem to be motivated to do anything about it. And they wouldn't need any fancy sci-fi to turn things around. Just having fun the old fashioned way would do it.
Japan still has plenty of babies born every year. Far more than zero.

If everyone fathers or mothers one child each, that is not enough to keep up the population, but there are still babies, people still know birth and what it is like to be a parent, to continue down our path.

The premise of the movie Idiocracy is mocking of the "smart people" endlessly kvetching and dithering about when and where to have children, I need me time, how can anyone bring a child into this world, etc. The dumb people don't care, they just have kids. The dumb people win.

If a person living in a world with zero births year after year is still worried about using up our resources, has a big "meh" about it, is the youngest person in the world at age 47 and wakes up and thinks "time to make the donuts", that person is not in touch with what it is to be alive.

We take the replacement of the population for granted. Yes, it would be a seismic change for that to go away. I cannot believe otherwise.

The OP is putting this forward as ideas for writing. If the inherent emotion was not addressed, I would not be interested in reading.

Part of the problem is the idea is profoundly depressing to me. The human parts of the world would wither and spiritually die long before the youngest of us reaches their three score and ten. I suppose animals would take over, as they are unaffected. That should be part of the story.
  #66  
Old 08-14-2019, 06:57 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Z View Post
If a person living in a world with zero births year after year is still worried about using up our resources, has a big "meh" about it, is the youngest person in the world at age 47 and wakes up and thinks "time to make the donuts", that person is not in touch with what it is to be alive.
So what would he do if he was in touch with what it is to be alive? Wail in despair and kill himself?
  #67  
Old 08-14-2019, 07:21 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 6,977
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Z View Post
The OP is putting this forward as ideas for writing. If the inherent emotion was not addressed, I would not be interested in reading.
I don't expect babies to stop being born in this scenario. There are various ways to make them from frozen sperm (artifical insemination or IVF), frozen embryos, and various other suggestions made in this thread. I fully expect most or all of them to be put into practice. The question was how long these could keep civilization afloat.
  #68  
Old 08-14-2019, 07:58 PM
thorny locust is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 984
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
And actually as extinction-level disasters go this one is really gentle, at least for the first few decades. Existing society will be essentially unaffected (unless you're Dr. BabyCatcher), with existing families with all their children and babies carrying on unaffected. .
I think you're really underestimating the strength of the impulse in most people to have descendents.

Yes, there are some people who really don't want any children, and somewhat more who aren't seriously upset by not having any. But there are a whole lot more for whom it's very important. Many such people are happy with one or two instead of eight or twelve, at least if they expect those children to live, and grow up, and produce grandchildren; but that's a whole long way from being comfortable not only with having none at all, but also having no nephews, nieces, friends' children, students, etc.

And most people don't worry about the survival of the human race because they assume it'll survive. I'm not spending time worrying whether the sun will come up tomorrow; or even whether there won't be any rain for the next three hundred years. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be seriously upset if I found out the sun or the rain were going to disappear.

I think existing society would be really drastically affected. I'd be interested to read a story, or a batch of different stories, about possible ways in which it would be affected. But I'd have a whole lot of trouble believing a story in which there wouldn't be any more children, and everybody just shrugged their shoulders and said oh well, I guess the kindergarten teachers will have to find other jobs.

And I'm a person who's childless, and not seriously upset over it. But for one thing I see the strength of the impulse in other people, not only for their children but for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. And for another -- it's one thing for me, as an individual, to have no children in a world with well over six billion people (among them my sisters' and cousins' children and grandchildren.) It would be another thing entirely to have human children, in general, just disappear from the world.

-- Another thing to consider, which would also very much not be minor: if whatever children are to be born will be created from frozen sperm or parthogenesis: that's going to take most men, except for the relative handful who happened to have sperm frozen, out of the genetic parental role entirely. For some of them, if they can help raise a child, however created, that'll do. For others -- that''s going to be a massive psychological wrench, both for them individually and for society as a whole. I don't think some of the results would be pretty at all.
  #69  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:24 PM
Enola Gay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,533
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmore View Post
What's everyone's opinion on how important "survival of the human race" would be to the people? I'm sure governments and scientists would be motived to find techniques to enable pregnancy, but how motivated would normal people be to go through that procedure? People typically have babies because they want babies or get pregnant by accident, not that they care about ensuring that future society is well populated. And even those people who want babies, not all of them are super motivated to make it happen. I think just a small percentage of people would make the effort to go through an IVF-type procedure even in such an environment.
And Catholic countries who don't believe in IVF for religious reasons, would either have to change their belief system or their populations will die out.

On the upside, there would be zero unplanned pregnancies.
  #70  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:07 AM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I think you're really underestimating the strength of the impulse in most people to have descendents.

Yes, there are some people who really don't want any children, and somewhat more who aren't seriously upset by not having any. But there are a whole lot more for whom it's very important. Many such people are happy with one or two instead of eight or twelve, at least if they expect those children to live, and grow up, and produce grandchildren; but that's a whole long way from being comfortable not only with having none at all, but also having no nephews, nieces, friends' children, students, etc.

And most people don't worry about the survival of the human race because they assume it'll survive. I'm not spending time worrying whether the sun will come up tomorrow; or even whether there won't be any rain for the next three hundred years. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be seriously upset if I found out the sun or the rain were going to disappear.

I think existing society would be really drastically affected. I'd be interested to read a story, or a batch of different stories, about possible ways in which it would be affected. But I'd have a whole lot of trouble believing a story in which there wouldn't be any more children, and everybody just shrugged their shoulders and said oh well, I guess the kindergarten teachers will have to find other jobs.

And I'm a person who's childless, and not seriously upset over it. But for one thing I see the strength of the impulse in other people, not only for their children but for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. And for another -- it's one thing for me, as an individual, to have no children in a world with well over six billion people (among them my sisters' and cousins' children and grandchildren.) It would be another thing entirely to have human children, in general, just disappear from the world.

-- Another thing to consider, which would also very much not be minor: if whatever children are to be born will be created from frozen sperm or parthogenesis: that's going to take most men, except for the relative handful who happened to have sperm frozen, out of the genetic parental role entirely. For some of them, if they can help raise a child, however created, that'll do. For others -- that''s going to be a massive psychological wrench, both for them individually and for society as a whole. I don't think some of the results would be pretty at all.
A lot of people will be very unhappy, but think only an insignificant minority would be "burn everything/kill everyone/riot/suicide" unhappy. Because while these people may want kids very much, even for them it's not a 'need one now' sort of want. There could be a general malaise, but it won't be enough to get people to, for example, completely stop working and despondently starve to death. The vast, vast majority will still go to work and feed themselves and turn the wheels of society. They may be a little unhappier, but people aren't going to freak out.

It will almost certainly help that people will know that the Best Minds of Their (Final) Generation will be working very hard on fixing or reversing the problem.

On the other hand, all this business y'all are talking about with sperm banks and IVF and parthenogenesis and such? That stuff better be made available to everybody fast, and for free. Because if people find out that only the rich people get to have babies, there will be rioting in the streets, and the places that do such things will literally be torn apart.
  #71  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:20 AM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
-- Another thing to consider, which would also very much not be minor: if whatever children are to be born will be created from frozen sperm or parthogenesis: that's going to take most men, except for the relative handful who happened to have sperm frozen, out of the genetic parental role entirely. For some of them, if they can help raise a child, however created, that'll do. For others -- that''s going to be a massive psychological wrench, both for them individually and for society as a whole. I don't think some of the results would be pretty at all.
This is a good point. I'm a parent of two kids who are not genetically related to me, and it can be a big deal to some people. (It was never too much of one for me, but I saw it was for others in our same position, and I did have some minor issues to deal with around it.)

Also, I would think that almost all pregnancies from IVF type procedures would begin with 2-3 blastocysts being implanted, to make the procedures more efficient -- more births per round of IVF. So probably the majority of kids would be multiples -- twins or triplets. Singletons might be the odd ones out, and might be assumed to have lost a potential sibling in the womb. Maybe some people who only want one kid would have end up with two, and place the second one with other parents.

I can also imagine an initial period before new reproductive techniques are developed, where there would be some panicky decisions made. Like outlawing abortions in all circumstances, outlawing people trying to buy up frozen sperm, lots of hucksters selling "cures," kidnapping of babies and small children either going up drastically, or maybe just panics about it. A small calming effect from government stepping in and nationalizing fertility clinics and all sperm banks, but lots of controversy and battles over who will get procedures/get to be parents. I suspect in the US, people who had privately stored sperm, eggs, or embryos might have successfully fought to keep possession and some control of them, but maybe they could only be used in procedures with women who meet certain criteria to increase the chances of successful procedures. So many would have to use a surrogate or would be selling or doing directed donations. Maybe using a surrogate with the hope/plan of the surrogate getting a child and the sperm/embryo owners getting one from a successful multiple pregnancy?
  #72  
Old 08-15-2019, 01:04 PM
Shodan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 39,614
Unless and until the new reproductive techniques, and fertility clinics able to apply them, become commonplace, I suspect it will be handled like organ donation. The demand will greatly outpace the supply, and there will be waiting lists.

Priority on the list should, IMO, be handled the same way that organ transplant lists are handled - no priority given to the rich (at least in the West). Just who is most likely to be able to bring the pregnancies to term. This is going to be controversial, just like alcohol abuse status affects whether or not you get a liver transplant. If some unmarried, unemployed sixteen year old decides she wants a baby, where does she go in the queue? How about if you already have a child?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay
And Catholic countries who don't believe in IVF for religious reasons, would either have to change their belief system or their populations will die out.
The Amish will disappear, too.

And what about places in Africa where they already have limited access to health care now? ANd you gotta know that dictators in the Third World and elsewhere are going to use access to reproduction to reward their own cliques - "get in line or no children for you".

Regards,
Shodan
  #73  
Old 08-15-2019, 01:17 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,725
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschrodinger View Post
Also, I would think that almost all pregnancies from IVF type procedures would begin with 2-3 blastocysts being implanted, to make the procedures more efficient -- more births per round of IVF. So probably the majority of kids would be multiples -- twins or triplets. Singletons might be the odd ones out, and might be assumed to have lost a potential sibling in the womb.
I've seen this proposed in other population crisis threads and it ignores basic human biology. Yes, women CAN have more than one child per pregnancy but it's not healthy It's not good for the woman OR the kids.

All multiple pregnancies are considered high risk. No exception. The odds of something going wrong or one of the people involved being left disabled or dead go up significantly.

Now, in the crisis proposed in the OP it may be that society (or some parts of it) will consider increased risk to the mother in exchange for increasing the number of babies born to be worth the risk. I would even argue that adult women who freely desire to take on that risk in order to do something for the greater good should be allowed to do so...

....BUT, these pregnancies also increase risk to the children born. Twins as individuals are born at a lower birth weight than singletons all other things being equal. The more kids at once during a pregnancy the greater this problem.

This is a different tactic that would result in more people but at less risk to both mother and children. If you're already using IVF then allow the fertilized egg to divided several times then separate the result cells into individual cells again. Each will develop into a full human being. Yes, we're talking about cloning here, the same sort of cloning that results in natural identical twins (and identical triplets, and theoretically natural larger multiples). This has to be done very, very early in development, before any cells start to specialize, and there are limits to how much/often it can be done, but you could certainly get identical quads out of the technique. Not sure how many more than that - 8? 12? In any case, turning each conception into potentially four people would be a boost in the proposed scenario.
Implant these embryos into multiple different women (most of whom would be surrogates and not genetically related to the embryos). An individual miscarriage, although still a tragedy, would at least not result in the loss of that individual genome, which will be a good thing as it will help maintain genetic diversity. The human race will be going through not so much a bottleneck as the eye of a needle, it would not be a good thing to lose any genes we don't have to lose.
  #74  
Old 08-16-2019, 11:27 AM
Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 84,591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
In The Children of Men (the book; I haven't seen the film), it was the staff at OB/GYNs offices who first noticed--they weren't making appointments for any new patients.
Yes, I remember that well. The film has some big differences but is also well worth seeing - a harrowing, moving depiction of a society's despair, knowing that it has no future.
  #75  
Old 08-16-2019, 11:29 PM
eschrodinger's Avatar
eschrodinger is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
All multiple pregnancies are considered high risk. No exception. The odds of something going wrong or one of the people involved being left disabled or dead go up significantly.

Now, in the crisis proposed in the OP it may be that society (or some parts of it) will consider increased risk to the mother in exchange for increasing the number of babies born to be worth the risk. I would even argue that adult women who freely desire to take on that risk in order to do something for the greater good should be allowed to do so...
There is increased risk, but medically they are not all considered high risk. My SO had a couple of things that increased her risk, including carrying twins, and was still only classed as moderate.risk. And yes, it turned out to be a life threatening experience for her, but it is still not automatically considered high risk (and she had other risk factors).

And yes, I think society would risk women's lives over it, and women would do it. (Women do it now due to infertility. Clearly that willingness would not go down.).

The cloning technique you mentioned is cool though. I did not know that could be done. I still think most procedures would put in at least 2. But maybe you're right. Maybe with a surfeit of volunteers, going through hormone injections etc. and winding up without a viable pregnancy would just be part of the risk.
  #76  
Old 08-17-2019, 11:22 PM
TokyoBayer's Avatar
TokyoBayer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 10,504
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmore View Post
Under lab conditions, it is possible to have female-only reproduction. For example Mouse Created From All-Female DNA. If all men became sterile, I'd imagine that there would be a lot of work directed at finding similar techniques for humans.
From the article
Quote:
"In reproductive technology, there is a big gap between animals and humans. For example, cloning a mouse is easy. But no one has yet cloned a primate or a human. We don't even know if it's possible."
If the rich nations start throwing money at the problem, there is no doubt that research will progress faster, but itís possible that this could take longer than what people here are assuming.

Unlike other doomsday scenarios, this one gives a lot more time to restructure things, but there still will be questions concerning manufacturing and resources. Because manufacturing is globalized, then suppliers are all over the world. Many of the rare earth minerals required for advanced technologies are found in China.

Given enough time, it may be possible to solve, but there will still be issues.

Japan is discovering the problem with decreasing populations and trying to fund and supply medical care for the retirees.
  #77  
Old 08-18-2019, 01:56 AM
SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beffnal Green innit
Posts: 8,384
I've actually done similar scenarios as a conversation + grammar exercise when teaching English.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 View Post
Just try not to make it too much like "Children of Men."

Because apart from your premise requiring that it specifically be the males that are sterile (why does it matter? Does it change your premise much if itís just that for "reasons" people canít reproduce anymore?) thatís basically the world "Children of Men" is set in. Itís been 20 years since the last infant was born, things have gone to shit, and then one day...
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
IVF treatment seems like a reasonable approximation of whatever no-sperm-necessary wizardry we might invent to keep the human race going once the sperm banks and egg freezers are drained. WebMD describes the process like this:



The article mentions success rates of ~20-40%, but that's probably driven by the self-selecting group of women who are already having difficulty getting pregnant. If we started doing it for all sorts of young, healthy women, I suspect you'd get better results.
Yes. I tried to look it up a while ago when my ex was going through donor insemination, and couldn't find anything, but the number of lesbians who don't actually have any fertility problems other than that their partner is not producing sperm must make a difference to their chances of conception.

Also, most countries with sperm banks these days have limits on how many children one man can father. Those laws would definitely be rescinded. So there might be some increase in genetically inherited diseases, even in the countries that could afford self-insemination. And the sperm banks only really have a lifetime of ten years. So the male babies born in the first generation after this spermpocalypse would be in a position where they were both prized and expected to father the next generation when they were still barely more than children.

And yep, the countries that have sperm banks would definitely be at an advantage. But there would be war, where people were taking babies that could then eventually have other babies.

The collapse of society might happen quickly, when men realised they couldn't pass their genes down, and just gave up on the future, or gradually, because even with sperm banks we wouldn't be able to keep up.
  #78  
Old 08-18-2019, 03:08 AM
MarvinKitFox is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If it were a high priority (which it would be), we could develop the technology for women to reproduce without men, within the lifespan of those currently alive. So civilization could continue indefinitely. The biggest risk would be that the discovery of the sterility would be the catalyst for a global nuclear war, as various nations blamed The Others for causing the sterility, or thought that The Others had a cure that they were withholding, or decided that since The End is Nigh anyway, there's nothing left to lose.
^this says it all.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017