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Is Sperm Quality Declining Worldwide?
A study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem argues that male infertility rates could be higher than expected, and that sperm quality is on the decline. The study demonstrates that “sperm concentration has fallen by 52% among men in Western countries between 1973 and 2011,” and it follows concerns noted across other similar studies that confirm falling sperm concentration in Asian countries like China and Japan.
Skeptics point out concerns about the accuracy of reporting in studies of male fertility across different countries, but others note a potential correlation between declining male fertility and the decrease in live birth rates in those same regions.
Why would male fertility face a large-scale decline?
Men are used to feeling confident about the status of their fertility, unlike women who typically begin hearing at a young age that fertility should be a concern once they reach their 30s. The notion that male fertility is a given is unfortunate, as there are lifestyle factors that can contribute to issues like low sperm count or poor sperm motility (ability to “swim” forward).
Leading health concerns such as obesity, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and inactivity have all been linked to both male and female fertility issues. The perceived “invincibility” of men in their 20s and 30s is put into question with these lifestyle choices, and where long-term health is negatively impacted, male fertility usually closely follows.
Other factors that can contribute to male fertility issues:
- Underlying health condition(s)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Groin injury
- Spine injury
Is there anything I can do to protect my fertility?
Protecting fertility for the average male begins with goals to improve long-term health. As noted above, issues like obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol use and lack of exercise can contribute to infertility, but they are also clearly linked to low-quality long-term health. Taking control of poor lifestyle choices is an essential first step, regardless of your age.
Men are also encouraged to discuss fertility concerns with a doctor early in the process of trying to conceive versus waiting to see whether the female partner is facing a fertility issue. Men should also reach out to their doctor to discuss any of the factors above in regard to long-term health and fertility care.
Contact the Fertility Center of California today for infertility care, fertility preservation and donor sperm.