Though infertility has been on the uprise in industrialized countries for decades, a new study finds that the Western world is suffering the most. What could some contributing factors be? What could be a solution? A study, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, looked at 43,000 men from a variety of Western countries. They studied these men over a period of 40 years. What was the conclusion?
The Wake-Up Call
Over recent decades, the reproductive capability of men in these Western nations declined precipitously. Shanna Swan, a reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine in Manhattan, calls it a “wake-up call.” Not shockingly, this sentiment carries over from previous studies done. While some researchers were skeptical at first, most seemed to agree. But why? What has changed? New studies have become available. Along with studies, more men have come forward to discuss the issue of infertility. Not even to mention all the new medicines and treatment options that have only recently surfaced.
We now see that the problem is widespread. Sadly, if not addressed soon, the situation may escalate. Several countries have already been facing many challenges due to the declining birth rate and an increase in retirees. Experts are saying, of course, that more research will be needed before the contributing factors are determined. Nevertheless, the facts point to an issue of great concern.
In this study, a meta-analysis, researchers in this study examined 7,000 previous cases. They then zeroed in on 185 cases. Within these, 42,935 samples of semen data were examined. The semen samples were from men originating in Europe, North America, New Zealand, and Australia. The samples given range from the years of 1973 through 2011. Many of these men were healthy and young, either college students or soldiers. Unfortunately, researchers found a 52.4% decline in sperm count and a 59.3% decrease in sperm quality overall. To that end, the study did not only examined fertility patients, as in some studies of the past.
What Else a Low Sperm Count Could Mean
It is not only the fertility of these men that is of great concern. Afterall, a low sperm count could also be an indicator of premature death. Some factors may be at play in these cases, including but not limited to, exposure to certain pollutants in the womb, contaminant exposure, obesity, a lack of exercise, and so forth. Additionally, Western couples are having children later in life, which may be compounding their fertility problems. Fading age alone complicates conception, added too are fertility problems. Thus, it becomes even less likely to conceive.
While this study provided only some data, some wonder if perhaps lifestyle choices, stress, and first-world living could also contribute to the increase in infertility issues in the Western world. What do you think? Is this a serious concern? Is there a solution? While we cannot conclusively determine the cause or solution, any man facing issues or worries regarding infertility should feel free to do personal research. To that end, he should consult a knowledgeable physician.