Sperm counts falling

Sperm counts fell by 60 per cent between 1971 and 2011 in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, according to research published in Human Reproduction Update. 

The research reviewed 185 papers on sperm counts published over this period. According to lead researcher Dr Hagai Levine, the rate of decline showed no sign of ‘levelling off’ in recent years. ‘There is an urgent need to find out why sperm counts are decreasing and to find ways of reversing the trend,’ he says.

Pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals, diet, stress, smoking and obesity have all been plausibly associated with the problem, the authors say.

The same trend was not seen in other parts of the world such as South America, Africa and Asia, although fewer studies had been carried out there.

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