The sperm count among men around the world is falling at its lowest point in 40 years, a new study said on Tuesday, calling for action to halt the decline.
The study, led by Israeli epidemiologist Hagai Levine, replaces a 2017 study that primarily included North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
The new study includes data from more than 57,000 men who collected 223 studies in 53 countries, making it the largest analysis ever conducted on the subject.
With the addition of new countries, they confirmed the 2017 findings that the sperm count has halved over the past four decades.
Between 1973 and 2018, the number of sperm in men who were not known to be infertile dropped by 51 percent, from 101.2 million to 49 million per milliliter of sperm, a new study found.
“Furthermore, research suggests that this global decline will continue into the 2000s,” said a study published in the journal. Changes in Human Reproduction.
The sperm count is declining by about 1.1 percent per year, the study found.
More action and research is urgently needed “to prevent further male reproductive disorders,” it added.
‘We don’t know why’
Sperm density isn’t the only factor that affects fertility – sperm flow rate, which wasn’t measured in this study, also plays a role.
And a sperm count of 49 million is still above what the World Health Organization considers “normal” – between 15 million and 200 million per milliliter.
Sarah Martins da Silva, a reproductive medicine specialist at Scotland’s University of Dundee who was not involved in the research, said it showed that the sperm count had doubled since 2000.
“And we don’t know why,” he added.
“Exposure to pollution, plastics, smoking, drugs, prescription drugs, and lifestyle, such as obesity and eating unhealthy foods, have all been reported as contributors although the effects are unclear and unclear.”
Some experts said the new study did not resolve their doubts about the 2017 study.
“I’m still concerned about the amount of content in the published papers, especially in the past,” from which the review was based, Allan Pacey of the UK’s University of Sheffield told AFP.
Praising the “excellent analysis”, Pacey said he believed “we’ve got it right” in the difficult task of counting sperm, which could lead to a decline in prices.
But Mr. Martins da Silva criticized the critics of the results of the study, saying that “the statistics and the consistent findings are difficult to ignore”.
© Agence France-Presse