A new study confirms: low sperm concentration in men all over the world

A large study, the results of which were published Tuesday, concluded that sperm concentration, a factor in male fertility, has declined dramatically worldwide in recent decades.

The study, whose results were published in the journal “Human Reproduction Update” and included a calendar of about forty previous studies on the subject, stated that “sperm concentration decreased significantly between 1973 and 2018.”

The results of the study confirm the conclusions of a previous study conducted by the same team led by the Israeli epidemiologist Hagai Levin.

After its publication in 2017, this study sparked a lot of criticism, especially because its conclusions were only related to certain countries, all of which belong to the Western world.

This time, after integrating more data, the study authors concluded that the declining trend also concerned South America, Asia and Africa.

“In addition, the data indicates that this global decline has continued at an accelerated rate since the beginning of the twenty-first century,” they wrote.

The quantity of sperm is one of the factors that affect male fertility, but it is not the only factor, as the mobility of these sperm also plays an important role, and it is a factor that was not measured through this study.

Thus, these results do not allow us to conclude that there is a general decline in male fertility, even if they provide elements in this direction and are in line with other studies that analyzed most of the causes of this decline.

Endocrinologist Chana Jayasena attributed this situation to “causes such as obesity, lack of physical activity, pollution and exposure to chemicals in the environment”.

This expert at Imperial College, who was not involved in the study and was speaking to the British Science Media Center, welcomed this new study, describing it as “important”.

But other researchers, who were originally skeptical of the 2017 study, downplayed the new study’s conclusions, arguing that it did not resolve all of the previous study’s shortcomings.

Andrologist Alain Passi told AFP, “I still doubt the quality of the studies, especially the older ones, (…) on which this new analysis is based,” without questioning the way the authors of the new research collected their data.

He pointed out that the change in the number of sperm can actually reflect the development of measurement techniques increasingly, without necessarily being an indication of the reality itself.

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