Based in the Bay Area, WLK is Mikee and Jo — working parents of two loving and kind kids. They love sharing stories and tips at the intersection of work, life and kids.

How we protect our kids from infertility

How we protect our kids from infertility

In the summer of 2011 we decided we were going to start a family. During that time, infertility was somewhat of a taboo topic but because of a close friend I had at church, I had heard about the experiences they had gone through. After a few months of “trying”, I decided we needed to be proactive and get checked out. Our PCP advised us to wait for another year, but given my age at that time (33) and his (39), we decided not to wait and went straight to see the REI. After a few rounds of testing, we found out that we suffered from severe infertility - namely male factor. We had less than 0.1% chance of getting pregnant on our own. After one round of IVF, we ended up with two viable embryos. Both of them are our children today - Emmalyn (5) and Thomson (3).

One of the biggest reflections we had going through this experience is - what can we do to protect the future generation? Mikee did a ton of research about infertility and some of it we can’t change (e.g. pollution) but some of it we can. We decided that we would do what we can in reducing endocrine disrupters in our household. It’s too late for us, but perhaps not too late for our children.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. NIEHS supports studies to determine whether exposure to endocrine disruptors may result in human health effects including lowered fertility and an increased incidence of endometriosis and some cancers - National Institute of Environmental Sciences

It’s easy to go overboard and essentially bubble wrap our children so we decided to focus on what would give us the biggest bang for our bucks. There’s no guarantee these things will work, but our mindset is - we do what we can.

7 things we are doing differently now


  1. For food, we use metal and glass wherever possible and avoid plastics. That means all our meals are consumed on Corelle dinnerware. Most often used are the 10” dinner plates and cereal bowls. They are virtually indestructible (lasted 30+ years!) and are so thin they stack well in our cabinet.

    Our other favorites are Zojiruishi thermos food containers for hot lunch (the porsche of all thermos!), u.Konserve stainless steel containers, Klean Kanteen kids water bottles and Hydro Flask for adults.

  2. We never microwave plastics or place them in dishwashers. Not even upper rack. We also got rid of cooking pots and pans with nonstick coatings and now mostly use stainless steel or cast iron. Our favorites are The Lodge Logic or France-made Mauviel. Both have natural nonstick properties.

  3. We minimize/eliminate chemicals/pesticides from home and use clean options such as seventh generation laundry Free & Clear detergent and cleaners. We only use hand soaps without antibacterial properties (Method naturally-derived hand soap). If we have ant problems we can’t get under control, we use terro pre-filled liquid ant traps instead of harmful pesticide sprays.

  4. We eat organic whenever possible to avoid pesticides/chemical fertilizers, minimize processed foods

  5. We have purchased three HEPA air filters to clean our air at home. Our favorite is the Mighty Coway. also recommended by Wirecutter.

  6. We have replaced all their pajamas, bedding and mattresses with organic options (Okeo-tex certified). After all, they spend half their lives in them! Hanna Andersson has fantastic organic pajama options.

  7. Lastly, we have slowly eliminated furniture/toys that contain flame retardants from our home. Room & Board has a great selection of fabrics and options that are FR-free.

Our kids are still young and have their whole lives ahead of them. I’m hoping that we can do our best (within reason) in protecting their fertility for the future.

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