by Matt Weik
The thought of having kids for some men could be one of the most frightening things they’ll ever face. Poopy diapers, no sleep, screaming kids, toys all over the house… all sounds like fun, right? Some can handle it, others, not so much. However, it appears that men are severely diminishing their sperm count over the years without them even knowing it. But what’s causing them to basically be giving themselves a vasectomy without the need for surgery?
In the past 40 years, American men’s sperm count has been cut in half. To be more specific, a 59.3% decrease. For some, this might be considered a good thing. For others, it could lower their chances of having kids. Want some more bad news? Male sperm count continues to drop consistently year after year. Why? Consider what you do or don’t do daily and you’ll have your answer.
There are many factors that could cause male sperm count to drop. More specifically, it can have something to do with our obesity epidemic that we face daily, the amount of stress we deal with from our home and work life, how much we smoke or if we are around people who smoke, as well as the chemicals found in commonly consumed processed foods from the grocery store as well as the pesticides sprayed on our produce. It all adds up and is compounding.
A researcher at Edinburgh University mentioned, “Given that we still do not know what lifestyle, dietary or chemical exposures might have caused this decrease, research efforts to identify (them) need to be redoubled and to be non-presumptive as to cause.”
In case you’re not completely following along, these are ALL things that we, as an individual, can control. You can exercise and eat a healthy diet to avoid excess weight and potentially the chance of becoming obese. You can quit smoking or don’t start. And if you’re around people who are smoking, leave or excuse yourself until they are finished. We can also find time throughout the day to relax or meditate in order to reduce stress and cortisol levels. And last but not least, we can control what we put in our mouths. No one is forcing food down your throat, you aren’t a baby or child anymore. You should have some self-control and be able to put the fork down. Choose healthy foods over processed and eat organic if possible.
One researcher from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem said, “This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count.” The same researchers looked at data which showed the exact same result for men living in different areas of the world such as Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
The study itself did not narrow down which risk factors were the most harmful—only stating that all of them play a role in the decline in sperm count and quality.
The Bigger Picture
What exactly will the future look like if male sperm count and quality continues to decline? What implications will this have on the future generations? Will we get to a point where men may very well not be able to get a woman pregnant? Or how do the same risk factors affect the health of a woman’s egg and her ability to conceive a child?
With so many unanswered questions, it appears that we may have opened Pandora’s box with this research. Could the decline in sperm quality be causing some of the birth defects and illnesses we are seeing today’s children being born with? Overall, the data is pointing to men doing this to themselves by increasing their risk factors. It appears as if researchers have known about the start of this decline as early as 1990, but nothing has been said or done about it to potentially start working towards a resolution. Researchers have mentioned that the data remained dormant because it didn’t have specifics as to how it pertained to different demographics and factors such as the age of the participants as well as their current sexual activity which could cause fluctuations in sperm counts. Therefore, no other research was conducted at the time, yet when researchers conducted a meta-analysis, they found a huge reduction in quality and quantity.
Hopefully more research will be done to fully understand the factors that are playing into this tremendous decline. We need to wrap our arms around this issue and fix it before it gets any worse and affects the generations to come. If things keep moving in the direction they are, there’s a chance some men could become sterile and not be able to have kids at all.
1.) Fox News online. “Sperm count falling sharply in developed world, researchers say.” Fox News. 25 July, 2017.