Recent research shows that sperm counts in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Europe have dropped a shocking 50% over the past 38 years.
The news is alarming in itself, but comes as even more of a surprise since male infertility tends to be a subject that escapes the spotlight. We tend to focus more on women’s reproductive health, especially when couples struggle to try to conceive. But male factor infertility is just as common as female factor infertility. In fact, one third of all cases of infertility are male, another third female, and the last third is a combination of both reproductive partners.
Here’s what you need to know from the latest research:
- The decline continues to grow steeper and steeper in more recent years, which indicates that the problem is getting worse.
- That’s all the more concerning considering that we don’t know the cause for the sharp decline.
- Fertility rates (calculated by the number of live births per woman) have also declined in the same countries with declining sperm count.
- Low sperm count is not just a reproductive issue, but an overall health issue. There appears to be a correlation between infertility and increased risk of other health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Women are not having enough children to replace the current population.
- An average of 2.1 children per woman is ideal, to replace herself, her partner, and the extra .1 is to account for children who don’t survive to reproductive age.
- Factors that might decrease sperm count include smoking, poor diet, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and too much alcohol. We’ve got some great tips to boost sperm count here.
- Toxins in the environment can affect sperm count. This includes BPA and phthalates.
- Age also affects sperm counts. As men get older, their sperm count declines. Who said men don’t have a biological clock?