Explained | Decline in sperm quality: Startling revealations, alarming signs and experts view

A study published in a journal called Human Reproduction Update done by professors at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre, the University of Copenhagen and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has concluded a sharp decline in sperm counts over the years in many countries, including India. According to The Guardian, the latest study has gathered data from 53 countries.

Professor Hagai Levine from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has stated that India (one of the countries with the richest data) is also part of this larger trend, but the trend observed in India is similar as globally.

Startling revelations:

The research has pointed out that between 1973 and 2011, the average sperm concentration experienced a sharp decline from an estimated 101.2 million per ml to 49.0 million per ml. Meanwhile, the overall sperm counts have fallen sharply by 62.3 per cent during the same period.

According to the study, the cause for concern has increased manifold, with the fresh study hinting that the rate of decline in the quality of sperm appears to be increasing. Shanna Swan, the study’s author, has claimed that more and more men can become sub-fertile or infertile in the coming years.

Alarming signs:

Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem highlighted that the study had observed a global decline in sperm counts of over 50% over the past four decades, which has accelerated in recent years.

“Lifestyle choices and environmental chemicals are adversely affecting this foetal development. We have a grave problem that, if not mitigated, could pose a serious threat to mankind. We urge immediate global action to ensure a healthier and better atmosphere for all species and reduce exposures and behaviours that put our reproductive health at risk,” Levine said.

The scientist also suggested that there is a need to do a separate study in India following the growing population over time.

Experts view:

Prof Dr. D Mukherjee, Director and Chief Consultant Renal Sciences, Max Hospital in Gurugram, told The Quotes that the sedentary lifestyle, high stress level, addictions in our society and growing pollution are the main causes of such decline in sperm quality.

“Peace of mind is very important. Simple activities such as walking every day or doing some kind of physical activity throughout the day, will help in keeping the quality of sperm good. It is not necessary to visit a gym daily to improve fertility, but any kind of physical activity helps,” said Dr. Mukherjee.

Moreover the problems are compounded by activities like smoking, drugs and excessive drinking. Any kind of mental stress can drastically affect sperm count.

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The recent study also has pointed decline in the fertility rate, which Dr. Mukherjee claims couples must keep aside some ” me” and ” our” time to bolster mental and physical intimacy.

“Food adulterants, chemicals and hormones used by poultry and cattle industry, air and water pollution all contribute to the growing problems of infertility including sperm count,” added Dr. Suman Lal, Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Max, Gurgaon.

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