Studies across Latin America, Asia and Africa find that men are experiencing a sperm count decline due to our modern environment and lifestyle

Sperm count decline indicates the lowering of human fertility, which has been recorded across most continents in a study of men’s health by an international team.

Low sperm count levels are associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, testicular cancer and a decreased lifespan.

This is the first meta-analysis demonstrating sperm count decline among men from South and Central America, Asia and Africa. However, this study links back to studies of sperm count decline in North America, Europe, and Australia, as reported by this team in 2017 – indicating it has continued and even accelerated in the 21st century.

The authors say the decline reflects a global crisis related to our modern environment and lifestyle, with broad implications for the survival of the human species.

Sperm count decline has accelerated in the 21st century

Taking data from 53 countries, the study includes an additional seven years of data collection (2011-2018) and focuses on sperm count trends among men in regions not reviewed previously, specifically South America, Asia, and Africa.

The research indicates that men in these regions share a significant decline in total sperm counts (TSC) and sperm concentration (SC) seen previously in North America, Europe and Australia years prior.

However, alarmingly, these results point to an accelerated post-2000 decline in TSC and SC globally since the previous study.

“Lifestyle choices and chemicals in the environment are adversely affecting this fetal development.”

Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Braun School of Public Health summarised these results, saying: “Overall, we’re seeing a significant worldwide decline in sperm counts of over 50% in the past 46 years, a decline that has accelerated in recent years.

“Lifestyle choices and chemicals in the environment are adversely affecting this fetal development.”

While the current study did not fully examine the causes of sperm count declines, researchers indicate that disturbances in the development of the reproductive tract during fetal life are linked to lifetime impairment of fertility and other markers of reproductive dysfunction.

Time is running out for mankind’s survival

The researchers emphasised with their results that low sperm counts affect men’s fertility and have serious ramifications for men’s health more generally – as they can be linked with other adverse trends, termed together as testicular dysgenesis syndrome.

Time is running out, cautioned Levine. “Our findings serve as a canary in a coal mine. We have a serious problem on our hands that, if not mitigated, could threaten mankind’s survival. We urgently call for global action to promote healthier environments for all species and reduce exposures and behaviours that threaten our reproductive health.

“The troubling declines in men’s sperm concentration and total sperm counts at over 1% each year, as reported in our paper, are consistent with adverse trends in other men’s health outcomes, such as testicular cancer, hormonal disruption, and genital birth defects, as well as declines in female reproductive health. This clearly cannot continue unchecked.”


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