Health Care

Western Men’s Sperm Counts Have Dropped By an Alarming Amount in the Past 40 Years

The scariest part? The study doesn’t have an explanation for the decline.

By Sam Benson Smith

The numbers are in but the explanation is not; men in Western countries have seen a drop in sperm count of just under 60 percent in the last 40 years.

A study conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined 185 different studies which included data from nearly 43,000 men. The data was gathered from 1973 to 2011, and broke down the men into two groups geographically: Men from Western countries (in this case, Australia, New Zealand, and countries in North America) and men from non-Western countries (everywhere else).

K_E_N/shutterstock

Another measurement of fertility, sperm concentration, has seen a decline of 52 percent over the same span. On average, the sperm concentration of men from the west has seen a decrease of 1.4 percent on average every year for the past four decades.  (Did you know that male fertility starts to drop at this surprising age?) 

The study did not look into the potential risk factors causing the decrease in fertility, so many researchers are curious as to what caused this building decline.

“We have got very little epidemiological evidence to say what might be causing it,” Allan Pacey, a Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield, told The Guardian, “So we are still scratching our heads a little bit in my view.”

Until a cause is found, Western men are just left with the numbers. If you’re hoping to quell your fertility concerns, these 13 tips may help put your reproductive health back into your own hands.   

More: Health Care Men's Health

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