New Research Shows Sperm Count Decreases in Developed World

Researchers say there could also be a decline in men's health and fertility.

July 26, 2017 10:49 am

New research shows sperm counts in men from the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years.

The researchers also said that the rate of decline is not slowing. Reuters reports that both findings, shown in a meta-analysis bringing together various studies, “pointed to a potential decline in male health and fertility.”

Hagai Levine, who co-led the work at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem, said that the study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities to investigate the causes of the sharp drop in sperm count.

Levine and her team of researchers from United States, Brazil, Denmark, Israel and Spain, screened and brought together the findings of 185 sperm count studies from 1973 to 2011 and then conducted a “so-called meta-regression analysis.”

The results showed a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in told sperm count among North American, European, Australian and New Zealand men. The findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction Update.

The research did not explore reasons for the decline. Previously, falling sperm counts have been linked to various factors, such as exposure to chemicals and pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity.

Therefore, measures of sperm quality may reflect the impact modern living has on male health.

Daniel Brison, a specialist in embryology and stem cell biology at Britain’s Manchester University, told Reuters that the findings had major implications “not just for fertility but for male health and wider public health.”

In contrast, no significant decline was seen in South America, Asia and Africa. However, far fewer studies have been conducted in those regions.

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