Study finds Worrying Decline in Sperm Count
In less than 40 years, sperm counts among men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have halved. If these trends continue, we may very well be faced with extinction – and this because of a diminishing count in little swimmers.
The Human Reproduction Update findings are quite staggering: they are also a stark eye opener that the lifestyle we lead may very well be impacting fertility on a global scale.
These findings were brought together via 185 studies undertaken between 1973 and 2011 in what is one of the largest assessments ever held. 42,935 male participants from 50 different countries provided semen samples and information on fertility status, age, ejaculation abstinence time, semen collection method, sperm count method, and geographic location.
Lead researcher and epidemiologist Dr Hagai Levine, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, expressed concern about the future. Simply put, if this downward trend continues, humans will become extinct.
The study indicates that the rate of decline is increasing. The study found a 52.4% decline in sperm concentration, and a 59.3% decline in total sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Interestingly enough, no decline of significant importance was recorded for South America, Asia and Africa. To be precise though, there were fewer studies undertaken in these geographical areas.
‘because of the significant public health implications of these results, research on the cause of this continuing decline is urgently needed.’
As Dr Levine notes, identifying the reasons behind decreasing sperm counts – and reversing the trend – is imperative. Whilst there is no clear evidence why sperm is experiencing such a decrease, elements such as exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and plastic, as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking, stress, diet, obesity, and too much tv, are all linked to plummeting sperm counts. As the study emphasizes, ‘because of the significant public health implications of these results, research on the cause of this continuing decline is urgently needed.’
Of particular concern is the high proportion of Western men with sperm concentrations below 40 million/ml. Basically, going below this level of sperm concentration means that the monthly probability of conception decreases.
These findings serve as an added reminder on the importance of raising awareness on male fertility. Basic lifestyle changes can make a substantial impact on your sperm count. Read more here on how you can monitor your sperm count.
Read more about the Human Reproduction Update study.