Alarm over future as sperm count in Western males dropping
Guys, we got a problem.
A new study shows that your sperm count is dropping at alarming rates with no evidence that the trend will improve.
Writing in the journal Human Reproduction Update, the researchers of the study said total sperm count had fallen by 59.3 per cent between 1971 and 2011 in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. There was no significant decline in South America, Asia and Africa.
The study — the largest meta-analysis that was ever done on the issue to date — examined data from 185 studies covering nearly 43,000 men.
The implications go beyond just being able to conceive, said the report.
“The decline we report here is consistent with reported trends in other male reproductive health indicators, such as testicular germ cell tumoUrs, cryptorchidism, onset of male puberty and total testosterone levels. The public health implications are even wider. Recent studies have shown that poor sperm count is associated with overall morbidity and mortality,” said the report.
The causes of this declining sperm count have been identified as multiple environmental and lifestyle influences, before birth and in adult life.
“In particular, endocrine disruption from chemical exposures or maternal smoking during critical windows of male reproductive development may play a role in prenatal life, while lifestyle changes and exposure to pesticides may play a role in adult life.”
Co-author and epidemiologist Hagai Levine told the BBC that he is concerned about the future of the human race if the issues are not addressed.
“If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future,” he said.
Dr Catherine Minto-Bain, Medical Director of the IVF Clinic in Trinidad, said they conducted a study in that country which showed a third of the couples coming to the clinic had serious problems with sperm count.
"All of the Caribbean fertility chains are seeing the same problem. In a large number of couples, the male has a big problem, we might have a higher problem in males here than the developed world," she said.
Dr Minto-Bain said her clinic is in the midst of reviewing the data from their study in T&T and in analysing the next five years the problem seems to be getting worse.
She said no cause has yet been identified but a major problem they have noticed is the practice by pharmacists to administer testosterone products or shots that are no longer used.
"This is very out of date medicine. When you take these products there is no sperm production for six to 12 months, it has got to stop," she said.