"We have a serious problem on our hands that, if not mitigated, could threaten mankind's survival," Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health tells host Maayan Hoffman in the newest episode of the Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine podcast.
A new paper by Levine has shown a drastic decrease in sperm count and sperm concentration over the past decades. This decline could impact fertility.
Specifically, Levine and a team of scientists from Denmark, Brazil, Spain and the United States found that between 1973 and 2018, there was a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 62% decline for total sperm count among men from all around the world.
Even more striking, Levine adds, is that when examining sperm count and concentration since the year 2000, the declines have more than doubled. There is a 2.6% decline in sperm count each year beginning this century. "That means that children today, when they reach age 20, have lower sperm counts than their fathers at age 50," Levine explains.
What is causing this?
The causes are multifactorial, but Levine says some of this is likely linked to external factors impacting pregnant mothers: what environmental toxins they were exposed to, what they ate (was their food ridden with pesticides?) and how stressed they were.
Levine specifically highlights the negative impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals such as plasticisers, pesticides and herbicides, as well as heavy metals, toxic gasses, air pollution and poor lifestyle choices, such as sedentary behavior, poor diet and smoking, as all are tied to abnormal sperm count.
Beyond reducing the chances of conceiving, low sperm count can also lead to increased morbidity and earlier mortality.
"We urgently call for global action to promote healthier environments for all species and reduce exposures and behaviors that threaten our reproductive health," Levine says.
- Read the full paper by Professor Hagai Levine
- Men's Sperm Count Worldwide Decreased by 50% in the Last 50 Years – Study
- Hadassah Study Provides Wake-Up Call to Western Men
- Hadassah Study Reveals COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Damage Sperm
- Get the Facts: Infertility FAQs
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