Experts Warn of ‘Mass Extinction’ As Sperm Counts Drop Worldwide

A new study published in the journal Human Reproduction Update has found that the sperm count of men all over the world has been declining fast at an alarming rate in the last couple of years.

According to experts, this could signal a reproductive crisis if action is not taken soon. reports: Hagai Levine, first author of the research, noted that sperm counts dropped by 1.2 percent per year from 1973 to 2000. From 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6 percent per year, “which is an amazing pace,” he said.

The meta-analysis conducted by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers looked at 223 studies based on sperm samples from over 57,000 men across 53 countries. It suggested that the average sperm concentration fell from an estimated 101.2 million per ml to 49.0 million per ml between 1973 and 2018 – a drop of 51.6 percent. According to the Guardian, the counts fell by 62.3 percent during the same period.

“We don’t understand why we’re seeing this pattern, so I think it’s hard to be alarmist for an individual,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a urologist focused on male fertility and sexual function at Stanford University and Stanford Health Care in California. He was not involved in the study.

However, he pointed out that this should be a wake-up call to try and understand this trend as experts say weak sperm counts could take longer for men to have children. Thus, it can contribute to a possible reproductive crisis.

Meanwhile, the same team reported in 2017 that sperm concentration had declined significantly in the last 40 years. However, a lack of data from other parts of the world at the time meant the findings were focused on a region encompassing Europe, North America and Australia. The latest study included more recent data from 53 countries, and it has seen a massive decrease in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

“I think this is another signal that something is wrong with the globe and that we need to do something about it. So yes, I think it’s a crisis, that we [had] better tackle now, before it may reach a tipping point which may not be reversible,” Levine said.

Previous studies have suggested that fertility is compromised if sperm concentration falls below about 40 million per ml. While the latest estimate is above this threshold, Levine noted that this is a mean figure – meaning, a significant percentage of men are likely below this threshold.

“Such a decline clearly represents a decline in the capacity of the population to reproduce,” he said.

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