August 2, 2017

Men's sperm count in rapid decline in industrialized West

Alternet - An international study has found that men’s sperm count is in rapid decline in Western industrialized countries.

Conducted by a team of international scientists, the study found that sperm counts fell by more than half in the last four decades. The scientists screened more than 7,000 studies and then analyzed 185 studies that included the sperm count of about 43,000 men between 1973 and 2011 in North America, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.

The scientists' findings are concomitant with recent data that show a decline in the U.S. birth rate—the fertility rate in 2016 was 62 births per 1,000 women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, which is the most comprehensive analysis conducted on the subject, confirmed the findings of previous research that found similar results. The rapid plummeting of sperm counts suggest that the issue will continue on its current trajectory.

"Since this is the best study that's ever been done, it is concerning that it suggests such a progressive and dramatic decrease in sperm counts over time," Peter Schlegel, a professor and chairman of urology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and vice president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, told NPR.

Instead of solely looking at the sperm count of men who visit fertility clinics, the study was expanded to include soldiers and college students. Researchers found a "52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in the total sperm count over the 39-year period,” according to NPR.

The study could not determine the exact causes for the decline. Scientists interviewed by NPR theorized that exposure to chemicals in the mother’s womb, the obesity epidemic and the stresses of modern living could be contributing factors.

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