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posted by janrinok on Saturday December 03, @05:47AM   Printer-friendly

Sperm counts worldwide are plummeting faster than ever:

A 2022 meta-analysis found that sperm counts (the number of sperm per ejaculate) in humans have been dropping at an increasing rate in recent decades, reports National Geographic. A 2017 study found that sperm counts had "plummeted by more than 50 percent among men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011." The newer study found that "not only has the decline in total sperm counts continued — reaching a drop of 62 percent — but the decline per year has doubled since 2000."

Shanna Swan, a reproductive and environmental epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, says the plummeting sperm counts could be attributed to multi-generational exposure to environmental chemicals.

From the study:

The initial study, published in July 2017, revealed that sperm counts—the number of sperm in a single ejaculate—plummeted by more than 50 percent among men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011. Since then, a team led by the same researchers has explored what has happened in the last 10 years. In a new meta-analysis, which appears today in the journal Human Reproduction Update, researchers analyzed studies of semen samples published between 2014 and 2019 and added this to their previous data. The newer studies have a more global perspective and involved semen samples from 14,233 men, including some from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. The upshot: Not only has the decline in total sperm counts continued—reaching a drop of 62 percent—but the decline per year has doubled since 2000.

[...] Contrary to common perception, infertility impacts men and women equally, says Amy E.T. Sparks, a reproductive physiologist and director of the IVF and Andrology Laboratories at the University of Iowa Center for Advanced Reproductive Health. "I think the perception that infertility is primarily a woman's problem may be due to the tendency for women to initially seek medical care for infertility rather than men." In the scientific community, the prevailing view is that male and female fertility challenges are each responsible for about one-third of infertility cases; the remaining cases are due to a combination of male and female factors.


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @06:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @06:13AM (#1280993)

    Let me guess - rainbow propaganda works as it was supposed to.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by gtomorrow on Saturday December 03, @07:22AM (5 children)

    by gtomorrow (2230) on Saturday December 03, @07:22AM (#1280998)

    ...we've just welcomed to the planet the eight-billionth person. [wikipedia.org]

    Maybe the headline should read Sperm Counts Worldwide are Plummeting Faster Than Ever...Except in Manila? Or possibly Sperm Counts of Study's Participating Men are Plummeting Faster Than Ever?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @11:07AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @11:07AM (#1281006)
      Well the sperm counts could be plummetting for many people. BUT with a gene pool of 8 billion I don't see this as a significant problem yet.

      There are still more than plenty who have no problems reproducing. The ones who reproduce would be more likely to produce descendants who can reproduce despite whatever it is that's causing the problem. Resistance or more fertile, more horny, etc.

      So people can scaremonger about plastic pseudo-hormones, pollution, etc all they like but just give it a few generations and you'd see evolution at work.

      Nuclear war would be a scarier bigger problem - but most of us can't do anything about that.
      • (Score: 1) by Se5a on Saturday December 03, @11:49AM (3 children)

        by Se5a (20629) on Saturday December 03, @11:49AM (#1281007)

        Except we appear to be having less sex over all and good chunk of us that are getting some are on birth control...
        Add this up ànd we could be approaching a cliff which will be unable to support ourselves and lead to another technological dark age.

        • (Score: 2) by helel on Saturday December 03, @04:34PM

          by helel (2949) on Saturday December 03, @04:34PM (#1281024)

          Obviously we just need to speed up that AI research so they can take over as we die off!

          --
          Republican Patriotism [youtube.com]
        • (Score: 4, Touché) by deimtee on Saturday December 03, @09:41PM (1 child)

          by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 03, @09:41PM (#1281055) Journal

          Nope. Everything is part of the environment of selection. IF people who have less sex have less children then they will breed themselves out of the gene pool.* New factors (birth control, wealth, technology, culture etc.) might influence the growth rate for a few generations, but the bigger the effect they have the quicker they will be evolved around. Evolution is a tautology, if something stops some people having kids, a few generations on the population will consist of those it doesn't stop.

          *not necessarily true. You could have sex once every two years and still outbreed 99% of the population. The relevant figure is not how often someone has sex, but how often they have sex that results in a baby.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, @06:43PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, @06:43PM (#1281169)
            The last I checked education and "high cost of living" are affecting reproduction more. Lots of people are going - "I can't afford to have kids" and not having kids.

            So maybe in a few generations mainly the irresponsible, richer or subsidized will have children?

            Also even if you're shooting enough duds that you have to try 10x more, if you've got suitable partners "that's a feature not a bug". 😏
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @04:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @04:14PM (#1281021)

    queue our robot overlords in 3.. 2.. 1

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Gaaark on Saturday December 03, @08:06PM (1 child)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 03, @08:06PM (#1281038) Journal

    Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great
    If a sperm goes missing, god gets quite irate

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Sunday December 04, @02:22AM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 04, @02:22AM (#1281080) Journal

      In that case use a sperm bank. Deposit now. Withdraw later . . . if ever.

      Buy one of those piggy banks sold for children to save money and use that as a sperm bank.

      --
      Scissors come in consumer packaging that cannot be opened without scissors.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by istartedi on Saturday December 03, @08:49PM

    by istartedi (123) on Saturday December 03, @08:49PM (#1281045) Journal

    Statistically, maybe we really don't know why. We do have some understanding on an individual level [yospermtest.com] and obesity seems to stick out on that list. According to the WHO obesity has tripled since 1975 [who.int] so that's a smoking gun right there. Speaking of which, smoking hits sperm too but that's been in decline--at least in the West. In other countries it might be the opposite. Now that China is wealthier they might be smoking more (I'm given to understand they smoke a lot there).

    I'm sure they've thought about all this, and maybe just haven't been able to establish causality on a global scale but it seems likely we're just doing it to ourselves with lifestyle, if not some chemical or a stealthy pandemic of some unidentified STD.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by lush7 on Sunday December 04, @01:17AM (1 child)

    by lush7 (18543) on Sunday December 04, @01:17AM (#1281077)

    It really may just be as simple as people pleasuring themselves. 70 some years ago, pleasuring one's self could get you in trouble with the mind-police/psychiatrists/psychologists. They used to lock people up for masturbation insanity back then.

    Men probably aren't less, 'fertile,' they just aren't as potent as their puritanical ancestors.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Username on Sunday December 04, @09:49AM

      by Username (4557) on Sunday December 04, @09:49AM (#1281111)

      There are also men living longer now, so that 90 year old sperm count is in the curve.

      We also has estrogen in the water, that didn't exists 70 years ago, with even higher concentrations for purchase without a prescription and a current trend pushing men to take it.

      So, masterbation/porn addiction, increased age, and drugs. Yeah. It makes sense.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, @06:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, @06:32PM (#1281168)

    Not too sure about you guys, but I've always had more sperm count than I could possibly need or use. Erections too.

    It's not like the universe would suffer if my DNA dead-ended here. (Don't worry - it didn't.)

  • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Monday December 05, @01:02AM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Monday December 05, @01:02AM (#1281202) Homepage Journal

    Do you know what this news means to staunch anti-natalists like me?

    It means I have already won. :^)

    --
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
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