Humans face reproductive crisis as sperm count declines: Study

Source: The post is based on the article “Humans face reproductive crisis as sperm count declines: Study” published in the Business Standard on 17th November.

What is the News?

An international team of researchers has found a significant decline in sperm counts over the years in many countries globally, including India. The decline reflects a global crisis related to modern environment and lifestyle, with broad implications for the survival of the human species.

What are the key findings of the study?

In 2017, the same team found that the sperm concentration had more than halved in the last 40 years. However, at the time a lack of data for other parts of the world meant the findings were focused on a region encompassing Europe, North America and Australia.

The latest study includes more recent data from 53 countries. According to the study, the average sperm concentration fell from an estimated 101.2 million per ml to 49.0 m per ml between 1973 and 2018. This is a drop of 51.6% in the past 46 years. Total sperm counts fell by 62.3% during the same period.

Rate of decline: The rate of decline appears to be increasing. Since 1972, the researchers found sperm concentrations declined by 1.16% per year. However, when they looked only at data collected since the year 2000, the decline was 2.64% per year.

Findings related to India: In India also there is a strong and sustainable decline, but its similar globally.

Note: The current study did not examine the causes of sperm count declines.

What is the important of sperm count?

Sperm count is not only an indicator of human fertility but also that of men’s health, with low levels being associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, testicular cancer and a decreased lifespan.

Further, disturbances in the development of the reproductive tract during fetal life are linked to lifetime impairment of fertility and other markers of reproductive dysfunction.

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