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New study: 50% decrease in men's sperm count in the last 50 years all over the world

In the most comprehensive study conducted on the subject, it was found that sperm quality deteriorates over the years in men all over the world, including in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and that the rate of decline even increases in the 21st century * "This study is a wake-up call for researchers, policy makers, health authorities and the public throughout the world and in Israel, which requires consideration and taking actions to correct the existing situation"

Sperm cells in the race to fertilize the egg in the uterus. Illustration:
Sperm cells in the race to fertilize the egg in the uterus. Illustration:

Researchers from the Hebrew University, the Hadassah Medical Center, and various institutions around the world, reveal a global and continuous downward trend in sperm count, which worsens over the years. In 2017, a previous study by the group of researchers found a 50% drop in sperm count in men from Europe, North America and Australia between 1973 and 2011. In a follow-up study that is now published, the researchers updated the database so that it was possible to check the trends also for men from Africa, Latin America and Asia - including men in Israel. The study was published today (Tuesday) in the leading scientific journal for fertility issues Human Reproduction Update.

Sperm count is not only an important and central measure of a man's fertility, but a figure that may also indicate his health - a low sperm count may predict an increase in the risk of morbidity and mortality among men. The purpose of the study, led by Prof. Hagi Levin from the School of Public Health of the Hebrew University and Hadassah, was to identify current trends in sperm count among men all over the world. The study systematically reviewed over 10,000 scientific publications that examined sperm quality between 1973-2018, and after filtering according to the protocol, data from 223 studies from 53 different countries were included in the study. The researchers examined the trends in sperm quality throughout the period and in the period after the year 2000, focusing on studies among a general population, which was not selected on the basis of fertility or infertility.

The study showed that there is a decrease of about 50% in the concentration and total sperm count among men in the world from 1973 to 2018. Among the general population worldwide, a 52% decrease in sperm concentration and a 62% decrease in total sperm count was observed throughout the study period. The most noticeable decrease was recorded among the group of men from European, North American and Australian countries, but a decrease was also recorded among men from African, Latin American and Asian countries. In addition, the comparison of the data from before and after the year 2000 showed that the downward trend in the sperm count is getting stronger over the years.

The reasons for the decrease in sperm quality were not examined in the study, but in previous studies it was found that low sperm counts are related to environmental data and the modern lifestyle. "Since we are seeing a decline in sperm quality that is getting worse over the years, it is almost certain that the changing world around us has an effect on this," says Levin. "The main suspects are global warming and air pollution, but also exposure to chemicals and smoking before birth, and exposure to pesticides, smoking, mental stress and poor nutrition in adult life."

"In light of the great importance of the sperm count for male fertility and human health", he continues, "This study is a wake-up call for researchers, policy makers, health authorities and the public around the world and in Israel, which requires consideration and taking actions to correct the current situation. The reasons for the sharp and continuous drop in the sperm count must be investigated, so that we can prevent further deterioration in the years to come. It may be that we have reached a time when we will have to offer the option of preserving quality sperm by freezing among young men, in order to ensure fertility in the future as well - just like egg freezing."

For the academic article click here 

To publish in the journal click here

More of the topic in Hayadan:

2 תגובות

  1. First of all it is worth correcting and emphasizing that the research is not "new"
    Because for several years it has been known that men in the West are rich and fat
    Their fertility is processed due to environmental conditions and overall behavior,
    It should therefore be stated that when the global population has already passed
    the threshold of the "explosion", the decrease in fertility among men in general
    is a positive and beneficial factor for the environment in general
    And with the exploding population in particular...

  2. What's wrong with that? A little indulgence in the population explosion will never hurt

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