Huge drop in men’s sperm levels confirmed by new study – here are the facts

Sperm count declining in the West: study

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Chris Barratt, University of Dundee

Sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined by 50-60% between 1973 and 2011, according to a new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the study, which analysed data on the sperm counts of 42,935 men, found no decline in sperm counts in men from Asia, Africa and South America, although there was limited data from these areas.

Overall, this is a very disturbing report. There has been a longstanding debate among scientists as to whether sperm counts have decreased or not. But what’s different about this study is the quality of the analysis. It was done in a systematic manner, accounting for several of the problems that had affected previous studies, such as the method used to count sperm and comparing studies performed sometimes decades apart. As such, most experts agree that the data presented is of a high quality and that the conclusions, although alarming, are reliable.

So what is going on? There has been concern for a number of years about an increase in abnormalities in male reproductive health, such as testicular cancer. The decline in sperm counts is consistent with these increases and this adds weight to the concept that male reproductive health is under attack and is declining rapidly.

In fact, if the data on sperm counts is extrapolated to its logical conclusion, men will have little or no reproductive capacity from 2060 onwards. The most rational explanation for the decline in male reproductive health is the changes in the environment. Current research suggests that the male foetus is particularly susceptible to exposure to pollutants and so changes that occur early in foetal life can have a very significant effect on the adult.

Could environmental pollutants be to blame?

What can be done?

The simple answer is that we need much more research to find out why this decline in sperm count is happening. We cannot be complacent about the potential negative effect on fertility and must now urgently rally to substantially increase the research effort into male reproductive health.

Also, although the prevailing evidence shows a decline in reproductive health, not all studies show this; there are some geographical differences. It will be critical to determine what the key differences between geographical regions are – such as genetic differences and exposure to specific pollutants – so we can then examine treatment strategies to limit these negative effects.

The ConversationIf it’s the foetus that is mainly affected, what can the adult man do? Even in adults, exposure to chemicals, such as bisphenol A, which are thought to affect fertility, can have a negative effect, so men should limit their exposure to toxic chemicals. This includes stopping cigarette smoking. Also, a healthy lifestyle is very important as there is a known link between obesity and reduced sperm count.

Chris Barratt, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, University of Dundee

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

5 Responses to Huge drop in men’s sperm levels confirmed by new study – here are the facts

  1. Nicely-Nicely July 31, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    Maybe Mother Nature is slowing our explosive population growth down as we near the end of our resources.

  2. joel hanes July 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m with nicely.

    This is a perfect time for human fertility to decline.

  3. Martigan July 31, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Tens of thousands of toxins mixed into a chemical soup and spread on farmland as ‘compost’. Besides slowing the growth of new population, we are reducing the life expectancy of old population. Balance will be restored – one way or another.

  4. Ten Bears July 31, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    When aired on the local corporate propaganda outlet (several times) late last week the concluding implication was the end of the human race. That the problem only seems to occur in obease illiterate white guys, I would venture Natural Selection.

  5. Lless July 31, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    Boy Ten Bears do I resent that. My sperm count is way down and I am marginally literate, white and a guy. Of course I turned 64 this year. Do not ask me how I scientifically controlled the count.

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