When it comes to fertility, as women it’s only natural that we often will focus on ourselves, our egg viability and how we can have the healthiest bod to up our conception and pregnancy odds. But what we don’t tend to even think about is our partner (or potential partners’) sperm. But perhaps it’s time we take notice. According to a new global study, sperm counts are at an all-time low—in fact, research published in the Human Reproduction Update Journal shows since the 1970s the average sperm count is down approximately 53 per cent on what it used to be.
It’s even been dubbed ‘the sperm-pocalypse’—which may sound extreme, but the experts of this study have officially declared it to be a public health emergency, citing a desperate need for health authorities globally to investigate the cause of such a dramatic drop in sperm count. And sorry to say, ladies, studies have found men of different nationalities are affected more by lower sperm counts than others. In new research by the Université de Genève, Swiss men aged 18-22 were found to show drastically lower sperm count levels in comparison to other countries with approximately only 47 million per mil, with the general average being between 41-67 million per millilitre across Europe. And it’s not just the Swisse, other countries included in the 53 per cent drop published in the Human Reproduction Update Journal (that studied over 43,000 men) low in sperm counts included— Norway, Germany, Middle East, South Africa, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Which in short, is pretty much most men… however according to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, it could be said there is slightly more hope for men in Asia who showed slightly less of a drop at only a 22.17 per cent decline in sperm concentration over the past 50 years.
So what does this all mean and why the radical decline? Well before you go thinking it’s all on the men, the study from the Université de Genève actually found mothers of men who smoked during pregnancy largely contributed to the decrease in their son’s sperm quality. Outside of smoking, scientists also have attributed the rise in obesity levels as potentially affecting poor semen quality alongside smoking, stress, sedentary lives, alcohol and drug use. But more worryingly, the main contributor they are now speculating is the likelihood of environmental chemicals as an underlying impact, with the volume of chemicals increasing just as significantly over the past 50 years and more specifically, popular chemical Bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA) found in plastics being found to directly affect male fertility levels according to a new study published only this year in the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. Yikes!
So with the sperm-pocalypse already here, what does this mean for us as women? Do we have to worry that our current beau or potential baby daddy won’t be able to produce ‘the goods’ when the time comes? No, not necessarily, but ahead of starting a pregnancy journey together, it’s probably a good idea to get your man checked out too! And if he’s not already, make sure he is getting his greens in, switching to glass over plastic and getting a regular sweat sesh… one way or another.