Declining Sperm Counts

A recent study  dubbed an urgent wake-up call has identified an area of great concern for researchers and health authorities.  According to research at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem, sperm counts have dropped by more than 50% over the last 40 years in men from New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and America.  Data gathered from 185 studies, which tested semen concentration, and total sperm count from nearly 43,000 men, showed a significant decline.   Between 1973 and 2011, it went from ninety-nine million sperm to forty-seven million sperm per milliliter.  In essence, men are producing less semen and fewer sperm cells within the samples.  They also say that the pace of this drop is not decelerating.

Although the analysis did not give a reason for the decline, it has previously been linked to lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress, alcohol consumption, and obesity.  Exposure to chemicals and pesticides may be contributing factors as well.  More specifically, earlier studies have observed and debated potential causes like environmental pollution, chemical compounds used in hard plastics (BPA), and soft plastics (phthalates) that can change the way genes express themselves.

Further research efforts need to be completed before we know which of these factors may be causing the trend, and where it may lead us.  Is this the impact of modern living?  Is it being passed down to younger generations, thus adding to the decline with each pass?  These findings have profound implications that go beyond fertility, and answers are urgently needed. 

As always, we recommend a healthy lifestyle balanced with exercise and proper nutrition, and without tobacco or alcohol.  MCRM Fertility is committed to staying at the forefront of research and available information to aid each of our patients in making the best decisions. The journey along the road to parenthood can be difficult, which is why the entire MCRM Fertility team is here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. We want you to think of us as your partners as we work together to bring your dream of parenthood to life.