June 29, 2013
to be posted on nobabies.net

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
202 456 1414

Dear Mr. President:
I see that you have decided not to continue to work to prevent the “morning after pill” becoming available to children in the grocery store, no doubt between the laxatives and nose hair tweezers.  I shall not question your judgment on this BUT it will obfuscate an impending crises that every parent – indeed everyone with a stake in the future – needs to know about and of which you cannot possibly have heard. 

In the old days we all married kin.  We stopped.  This started to change very slowly.  For many years there was a slow decline in fertility.  This stabilized.  Immediately age at first marriage for women started to rise.  This has never stabilized.  By best guess from the data I can find is that age of first child will pass forty in about twenty five or thirty years.  At that moment the birth rate must, for physiologic reasons, go essentially to zero.  This pattern is visible in all developed countries and my best guess is that it applies to the middle class the world over.  I have an enormous amount of supporting data which I have posted on

Another prediction is that the last children who will ever grow up to have children (among the affluent anyway) are already among us aged something like ten or fifteen.  So far as I know I am co author of the only paper that addresses the mechanism.  I attach a copy of that paper. 

For many years I have tried to bring attention to the issue with almost unvarying lack of success.  Many times I have thought of saying to people, “I am saying it’s not just that they are castrating your children.  They are castrating all the children.  Doesn’t that bother you?  How can you sleep before running this down and either proving beyond shadow of doubt that I am wrong or else making it your own personal crusade?” But I lack the persuasive skill that would elicit a response appropriate to the enormity of the allegation.  Nor do I expect this to change.  I’m old.  I’m not going to get more charming or richer or have an academic appointment where people have to listen to me or mess up their careers.

For some years now I have one principle hope: when the day comes that the last cohort reaches childbearing age intense infertility will sweep over the population like a windshield wiper clearing love bugs in the rain.  Then they’ll have to notice.  But the morning after pill changes everything.  When that demographic sweep begins there will simply be a lot of back patting and the change will be welcomed as an effect of that pill.  Only when the infertility reaches eighteen or twenty, five or ten years from now, will there be any perception of a problem.  If there is anything to be done, the time to start is now.

But of course this could be cured simply by insisting that the evidence be investigated by a sufficiently capable committee, and that right soon. 

There is more evidence I have to offer.  I ask that you guard this at least for the time being; it is publishable data, quite preliminary.  Ironically the rule is that you cannot release results before publication.  In order to give something to the world you have to keep it a secret until that magic moment.  This reticence is of course negotiable.

That said, my experiment was basically just to put a lot of fruit flies in a cage and watch their numbers wax and wane and then compare that with computer simulations of possible mechanisms.  That left me with a cage full of flies with fertility substantially reduced because their average kinship was much lower than is usually the case in a lab population.  My reasoning is that the actual chemistry (not perfectly modeled by the computer simulation because RAM in commercially available computers is somewhat lower than what I need) depends on methylation of DNA – carbon atoms are attached to the certain combinations of bases in the double helix.  If the pattern matches properly then there is maximum fertility.  If the pattern is too close a match or not a close enough match then fertility is reduced. 

So the next step could go one of two ways.  One could strip methyl groups off the DNA.  There are chemicals that can do that but they are toxic.  The other approach is to try to saturate the sites that can be methylated.  This should give a good match just as stripping would.  The appealing thing is that the chemicals that do that are vitamin B12 and folic acid (along with a witches brew of stuff to encourage the effect), both readily available (next the laxatives so to speak) in high quality already measured out into pills of known strength.  I have started out with a toxic dose in a small population and then lowered the dose until it was survivable.  At the present level small populations are modestly depressed by residual toxic effect but the large population in the big cage now has fertility above what they had when they were untreated.  In short I have found a level that alleviates the outbreeding depression even though it is still toxic when the population is not outbred.  Of course I expect over the next year or two to be able to take the methylation down to a level where the fertility is depressed at a lower dose than the level that enhanced it.  There is good reason to think that the population will die out.  That should be proof that the mechanism is indeed methylation, that it can be saturated with good fertility but that if it is increased above baseline short of saturation the population dies.  As I said, so far the results are preliminary.

So there are two ways to increase mismatch between methylation patterns in humans.  One is to fail to marry kin.  That’s what we are doing and that already may be going into dire straights for that reason.  The other method is to put folic acid and vitamin B12 in bread – fortified bread – and be sure all pregnant women get ample vitamins.  And we are doing that, too, for medical reasons.  The first babies born under this regimen are between ten and fifteen years old and in the rich world all babies born since have also undergone embryonic development and fetal development in a chemical environment that raises their methylation.

So even if we saw extreme infertility setting in over a sort time we would not know whether it would have happened without the folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements.  Careful analysis might have shown it, but now the morning after pill knocks it all into a cocked hat. 

So if you care about anything do your best to get this studied.  It is very important and I am almost alone.  Of course I am available to explain and go over the data with anyone interested.


M. Linton Herbert

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