This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
Decrease in sperm counts globally – what does it mean for you?
Sperm counts are on the decline globally. Researchers attribute the decrease to a variety of factors, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals, higher testosterone levels and obesity. Couples trying to conceive should first try lifestyle changes before seeking fertility treatments.
A man’s sperm count is the number of sperm in his ejaculate. A low sperm count can make it harder for a man to get his partner pregnant. A normal sperm count is 15 million per millilitre (mL) of semen, and anything below this is considered “low.” A study published in the journal Human Reproduction Update on January 11 looked at data from 185 countries and found that between 1973 and 2011, average sperm counts among men worldwide had dropped by 1.4 percent per year; it took nearly 40 years for global average testicular volume to fall by just 1 percent. Those numbers may not seem like much, but they’re significant because they indicate that we’re seeing a real decline in male fertility around the world—and this isn’t simply happening in Western nations. Researchers also found declines among men living in Asia and Africa during this period as well.
Researchers attribute the decrease to a variety of factors, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals, higher testosterone levels and obesity. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are synthetic compounds that can interfere with the body’s hormone system and mimic or block natural hormones like oestrogen and testosterone. These chemicals are found in pesticides, food packaging, cleaning products and other everyday items.
Other contributing factors include increased rates of smoking cigarettes (which lowers sperm count), increased consumption of alcohol (which reduces sperm quality) and prolonged use of marijuana (which also reduces both sperm quality). Overweight men tend to have lower sperm counts than normal weight men as well. It is possible that environmental factors such as endocrine disruptors may contribute slightly more than genetics alone but this would require additional research before jumping into conclusions about why we’re seeing changes in male fertility rates around the world today.
Couples trying to conceive should first try lifestyle changes before seeking fertility treatments.
- If you’re trying to conceive, try lifestyle changes first.
- Fertility treatments can be expensive and not always successful.
- If you do decide to seek fertility treatments, it’s important to have a good relationship with your doctor.
Researchers attribute this decrease in sperm counts to a variety of factors including endocrine-disrupting chemicals, higher testosterone levels and obesity. However, we need more research before we can say anything conclusive about what might be causing these changes or how they’re affecting human reproduction.
Please contact our team at 01224 515 254 to book an appointment with our andrologist if you have any concerns.