In the first systematic review of trends in sperm count, researchers this week reported in the journalHuman Reproduction Update a significant decline in sperm concentration and total sperm count among men from Western countries.
They found a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration, and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand who were not selected based on their fertility status. In contrast, no significant decline was seen in South America, Asia and Africa, although far fewer studies have been conducted there.
The study also indicates the rate of decline among Western men is not decreasing: the slope was steep and significant even when analysis was restricted to studies with sample collection between 1996 and 2011.
Dr Hagai Levine, of Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, the lead author, told the BBC that if the trend continued humanity was in deep trouble. “If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future. Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species.”
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