The high cost of infertility.

Plus: Why do mosquitos bite some people and not others?

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“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

Monday. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Golfer Michael Block, a club pro who teaches at a public course in California, defied the odds at the PGA Championship this past weekend, leaving us feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside. Unfortunately, that is about it for heartwarming news today. Millions of people are struggling with the financial and emotional hardships of infertility, and things are only getting worse. Let’s dive in.

A Growing Problem 

Infertility is quickly becoming a pretty big problem around the world, and in the U.S. specifically. According to the World Health Organization, one in six people globally experiences infertility. In the U.S., studies show that approximately 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age have encountered fertility problems. The causes of infertility can vary, with about one-third of cases attributed to male factors, another one-third involving unidentified or combined issues in both partners, and the remaining one-third related to female factors.

Additional research indicates that after one year of unprotected intercourse, around 12% to 15% of couples struggle to conceive, and even after two years, 10% of couples have not achieved a live birth. Younger couples, generally in good health, have higher chances of conceiving within the first three months of trying, with estimates ranging from 40% to 60%.

While age impacts fertility for both men and women, its effects are more pronounced in women. As women enter their 30s, their fertility declines; by their 30s, they are approximately half as fertile as they were in their early 20s. From there, a woman's chance of conceiving significantly decreases after age 35. Although male fertility also decreases with age, the decline tends to be more gradual.

However, it isn’t just age that impacts fertility. Choices such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, and environmental exposure can significantly influence one’s ability to conceive. 

With infertility rising, the demand for fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing is expected to continue growing. However, these services come at a significant cost, and unfortunately, many employers do not provide coverage for their employees.

In 2021, consulting firm Mercer revealed that only 61% of large employers offered some form of fertility coverage, with a mere 27% covering IVF expenses. The statistics were even lower for small employers, where 32% provided fertility coverage, and only 14% covered IVF treatments. This lack of coverage often leaves families to shoulder the financial burden themselves, spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Experts believe employers have a compelling business case to provide fertility services coverage. The inclusion of fertility benefits demonstrates a commitment to employees' well-being and attracts and retains top talent. It would also relieve a significant financial burden from families already dealing with a lot. 

According to a recent survey, a staggering 89% of respondents admitted they would need to cut back on essential expenses like groceries, transportation, and other medical services to afford fertility services. This burden underscores the urgent need for employers and payers to recognize the importance of investing in fertility benefits to alleviate financial stress and support their employees' family-building journeys.

The key takeaway? If our health continues to deteriorate as a society, infertility is bound to become an even bigger issue in the coming years. The cost of infertility treatments places a tremendous burden on individuals, serving as another example of why investing in our health early on in life is so important. 

Employers should be providing better coverage for fertility services, but at the end of the day, we can all be more proactive about taking care of our own health as well. 

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The Secret To Avoiding Mosquitos 

Scientists conducted a groundbreaking study to understand why mosquitoes are drawn to certain individuals.

While mosquitoes primarily rely on visual cues and body warmth to locate their prey at close range, they track carbon dioxide and other chemicals in body odor and breath when targets are out of sight.

Using the testing arena, researchers found that mosquitoes were particularly attracted to the oily secretions that hydrate and protect human skin from microbes. Carboxylic acids, a type of chemical compound, were identified as a strong lure. 

Having established the effectiveness of the testing arena, scientists plan to conduct a more extensive study involving 120 sleeping individuals. The aim is to determine the combination of chemicals that make specific individuals more attractive to mosquitoes and explore the impact of factors like diet and the skin microbiome on mosquito attractiveness. 

We haven't yet unlocked the secret to keeping mosquitoes at bay, but scientists seem to be getting closer. 

Tonic Shots

  • If you love noodles but don’t love how they make you feel, then this recipe is for you. These noodles are super low in carbs and taste great. Read more.

  • Keep your blood sugar levels stable with this quick and easy recipe. I hope you like avocados! Read more. 

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