The mys­tery of a de­clin­ing sperm count

Central and North Burnett Times - - WEEKEND - — Jamie Seidel, News Corp Aus­tralia Net­work

CHIL­DREN of Men. The Hand­maid’s Tale. It ap­pears the premise be­hind th­ese hit shows is dis­turbingly real.

A new study shows some­thing is dec­i­mat­ing the sperm of West­ern men.

Ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the jour­nal Hu­man Re­pro­duc­tion Up­date, sperm pro­duc­tion has fallen some 60% in the past 40 years.

And this is mainly a West­ern prob­lem.

In what is the first sys­tem­atic re­view of trends in sperm count stud­ies, re­searchers from the He­brew Univer­sity-Hadas­sah Braun School of Public Health and Com­mu­nity Medicine in Is­rael have iden­ti­fied a 52.4% de­cline in sperm con­cen­tra­tion, and a 59.3% fall in to­tal sperm count, among men in North Amer­ica, Europe, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

The re­searchers screened 7500 stud­ies, and con­ducted deeper anal­y­sis on an­other 185, pub­lished be­tween 1973 and 2011.

Such stud­ies are use­ful in de­ter­min­ing what is hap­pen­ing. But not why. There has also been much re­search in re­cent decades sur­round­ing a bur­geon­ing re­pro­duc­tive as­sis­tance in­dus­try.

The re­search has fin­gered a broad range of po­ten­tial sus­pects. Pri­mary among them is obe­sity.

But po­ten­tially hor­mone-dis­rupt­ing chem­i­cals found in plas­tics such as BPA (bisphe­nol-A) and ph­tha­lates have also been linked to sperm pro­duc­tion.

How­ever, Pro­fes­sor Rob McLach­lan, di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal re­search at the Hudson In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search in Vic­to­ria, says all may not be as it seems.

“Ul­ti­mately the con­cern is that a fall in sperm out­put will be re­flected in de­lays in nat­u­ral con­cep­tion rates,” he says.

“To date this has not been es­tab­lished.”

Prof McLach­lan points out that the na­ture of such trends re­search is in­her­ently flawed, and said ex­am­in­ing for trends in se­men qual­ity was “ex­tremely chal­leng­ing”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.