There is looming reproductive crisis as sperm counts continue to decline globally, researchers warn. The seeming collapse in male fertility has been happening over the last five decades, but the decline appears to be accelerating causing experts to raise concern.
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‘Something is wrong with the globe’
In a study published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, researchers looked at data based on 153 estimates from men who were probably unaware of their fertility. Results showed that the average sperm concentration fell by 51% between 1973 and 2018. Total sperm counts fell by 62.3% during the same period.
Unlike previous research on the subject which focused on a region encompassing Europe, North America and Australia, the latest one had data from 53 countries covering Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Prof Hagai Levine first author of the research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
I think this is another signal that something is wrong with the globe and that we need to do something about it. So yes, I think it’s a crisis, that we [had] better tackle now, before it may reach a tipping point which may not be reversible.
Interestingly, the findings were published the same day it emerged that the global population has passed the eight billion mark, a growth trajectory that’s putting more pressure on the planet’s limited natural resources. With this background, some people welcome the decline in male fertility as a way for earth to balance out the proportion of humans to resources.
Prof Levine explained to Euro News Next, why the findings should be of concern to everyone regardless of differing opinions on the continuity of humanity.
Sperm count is a very good measure of global health and of our future. And regardless of the number of people you think we need on Earth, you don’t want it to be determined by hazardous events rather than our own choice
Besides, sperm counts are also an indicator of men's health, with low levels associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, testicular cancer, and a decreased lifespan, the team added.
The Guardian: Humans could face reproductive crisis as sperm count declines, study finds
The Hill: Male fertility crash accelerating worldwide: study
Euronews: Sperm count drop is accelerating worldwide and threatens the future of mankind, study warns