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posted by janrinok on Saturday December 03 2022, @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: 3, Touché) by gtomorrow on Saturday December 03 2022, @07:22AM (5 children)

    by gtomorrow (2230) on Saturday December 03 2022, @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?

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03 2022, @11:07AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03 2022, @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 2022, @11:49AM (3 children)

      by Se5a (20629) on Saturday December 03 2022, @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 2022, @04:34PM

        by helel (2949) on Saturday December 03 2022, @04:34PM (#1281024)

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

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by deimtee on Saturday December 03 2022, @09:41PM (1 child)

        by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 03 2022, @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.

        --
        If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04 2022, @06:43PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04 2022, @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". 😏