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Reproductive Crisis Incoming? Sperm Count Is Declining Globally, Says New Study

Sperm count and sperm concentration among men are falling globally, a new study suggests.

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Sperm count and sperm concentration among men are falling globally, including India, a new study published in Oxford Academic on Tuesday, 15 November, suggests.

Why this matters: The study indicates that a reproductive crisis might be in the works in the near future. If the sperm concentration levels fall below 40 million per milliliter, it could impact fertility and cause reproductive problems, the researchers pointed. This could also mean an increase in testicular cancer in men and genital birth defects.

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The big numbers: The researchers collected data from over 57,000 men from 53 countries, including India, analysed data from 223 studies, and consulted 868 articles that have been written on sperm count. The parameters taken into account were age, sample collection method, and the time period that the participants spent without ejaculating. 

What caught our eye: Average sperm concentration has fallen by 51.6 percent between 1973-2018. This means that the average sperm concentration has fallen from 101.2 million per milliliter to 49 million per milliliter. Additionally, the sperm count has fallen by 62.3 percent between 1973-2018.

But, is this a steady decline? No. During the 1970s and soon after, sperm concentration was falling by 1.16 percent each year. But post-2000s, sperm concentrations started falling by 2.64 percent each year.

Is This the First Such Study? No. The same journal had carried an article in 2017, titled Temporal Trends in Sperm Count: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis, that had shown that sperm concentration had fallen by over 50 percent between 1981-2013 in men in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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