The truth is open and is a global concern too. The rapid decline in sperm count is noted and studied extensively. We have seen the rapid expansion of Infertility clinics all over. The rapid expansion itself is proof of need and expectation. The male and female factors equally contribute towards infertility.
It is a common belief that the ticking of the biological clock does not matter for men, and they can father a child anytime. That is the reason, women often bear the brunt of infertility issues. There are many studies which say that with age the number and quality of sperm decline, and the biological clock equally matters for men too. They too have a favourable age bracket that is best suited to fathering a child.
According to an updated review of medical literature published in the journal of human reproduction, over the past 50 years, human sperm counts appear to have fallen by more than 50% around the globe. One of the most fundamental functions of any species is reproduction and if there is a signal that reproduction is in decline, it is a very important finding.
The average sperm count reduced drastically from 104 million to 49 million per ml from 1973 through 2019. Currently, normal sperm counts are considered to be over 40 million per millilitre. This study points out towards the rapid decline in sperm counts simply means a rise in testing expenditure.
While dietary changes, alcohol consumption and stress are usually considered to be reasons behind the decrease in Sperm count, the common issues doctors see are problems with sperm motility (movement), shape defects and absolute zero sperm count.
How does the rise in male infertility affect society?
The emotional burden of infertility is not confined to women alone. Men suffer the painful and isolating effects of infertility too.
Robust evidence shows a drastic reduction in sperm counts and declining sperm quality in men after the age of 40. There is increased DNA damage and mutation rate in older men which will increase the risk of complex diseases in offspring, such as schizophrenia, autism, and childhood cancer.
The matter of male fertility is not considered a disease even though, it affects the overall health of males as well as the family.
Male infertility is a global concern and we least we can do, is to have open fearless communication.
The findings, published on Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction Update, found that average sperm counts all around the world had fallen by over 50 per cent over the past five decades.
Why this drastic decrease in sperm count?
A global crisis is related to our modern environment and lifestyle and they point to the disrupting role of chemicals on our hormonal and reproductive systems.
It also stated that sperm counts are also an indicator of men’s health, with low levels associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, testicular cancer, and a decreased lifespan.
Upon getting this news, some of the questions asked at our centre, at Yash IVF are “What about his work, his cell phone, our laptops, all these plastics? Does obesity, and environmental pollutants contribute? Can we have children now?
What are the real causes behind the drastic sperm number decline?
Male fertility decline can be caused by medical problems or injuries, environmental as well as lifestyle choices, and age.
Male infertility due to medical issues/injuries
Male fertility decline can be due to several different medical issues which interfere with sperm production and function or block the passage of sperm out of the body. These include:
Illness or infections such as inflammation of the epididymis, orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), or some sexually transmitted infections.
Cancers/tumours that alter the glands involved in the reproduction of sperms.
Injury to the testicles or any part of the male reproductive system
Hormone imbalances, such as low testosterone
Anatomical problems, such as varicocele (swelling of the veins that drain the testicle) can interfere with sperm production
Congenital absence of the vas deferens, There is normal sperm production inside the testicle but due to the absence of vas deference, sperms are not released into the ejaculate
Chromosomal defects that cause abnormal development of the male reproductive organs
DNA fragmentation, meaning that the DNA within the sperm is abnormal, increases the chance of failed conception or miscarriage
Male fertility decline caused by environmental factors
Medications such as testosterone replacement therapy, chemotherapy/radiation, few antifungal medications or ulcer drugs impair sperm production and cause male fertility.
Surgeries that block the path of sperm, such as scrotal or testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, or vasectomy.
Environmental factors, exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals, radiation etc.
LIFESTYLE factor that can reduce sperm counts
Illicit drug use, such as anabolic steroids, cocaine, or marijuana etc.
Alcohol use lowers testosterone levels, causes erectile dysfunction, and decreases sperm production
Smoking contributes to a lower sperm count
Obesity directly impacts sperm and/or causes hormone changes resulting in male fertility decline
MALE FERTILITY DECLINE AND AGE
Research has shown, increasing male age is associated with male fertility decline, increased time to pregnancy and decreased pregnancy rates as sperm may have abnormalities.
Then what are the Best Ways to Improve Sperm Count?
For low sperm count simple things can improve the counts
Medical concerns for low sperm count can be addressed with a fertility specialist. In absence of any known medical cause, making lifestyle changes can make a real difference.
Stop doing anything listed above that can cause sperm damage like smoking, drinking, or using drugs.
To get at least 7 hours of sleep, minimise stress, and eat a balanced organic diet,
Improving sleep and stress increases natural testosterone production as well as your sperm count.
Opt for supplements under a doctor’s guidance to increase antioxidant levels to boost sperm counts.
Keep cell phones and laptops, computers away from your groin region.
Warm temperatures can decrease sperm counts, so stay away from hot tubs, and warm baths.