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Male Fertility Rates Declining

Male Fertility Rates Declining

The decline in male fertility rates over the past 50-75 years, specifically in the quantity and quality of sperm, is a hot topic right now. And it’s pretty alarming when you look at the various studies that have been undertaken. One of the biggest “Decline in Semen Concentration and Morphology between 1989 and 2005 in France” concluded: “We observed, among a sample over 26,000 men of reproductive age from the whole of France … a continuous decrease in semen concentration between 1989 and 2005, of about 1.9% per year … We also observed in this sample a decrease in the percentage of sperm with morphologically normal sperm. These results indicate a severe and generalized decrease in semen quality in France, possibly since the 1970s, which constitutes a serious public health warning.”

Overall, male factors account for more infertility cases than most people realise. A study in 2015 found that 20-30% of infertility is due solely to the male factor1.

But Why?

Well, male fertility does decline with age although not as dramatically as female fertility 2. This means that couples putting off starting a family are to some extent jeopardising their chances of a successful pregnancy. The RCOG (Royal College of Gynaecologists) has found that young people have gaps in their knowledge of regarding fertility issues which are leaving them; “ill equipped to choose when to have children” 3.

This alone is worrying for future fertility levels, but more worrying perhaps is that countless studies into the issue of declining male fertility have found that chemicals seem to be one good reason for these rapid and detrimental changes in sperm quantity and quality globally.

BPA and Phthalates – What?

  1. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used in hard plastics. During recent years, the use of BPA in certain products has been under fire and many companies have changed practices. Common products containing BPA are water bottles, discs and DVDs, children’s and adult’s safety equipment (such as safety helmets) and many
  2. Phthalates are used to make plastic soft. Commonly used in plastic food storage but found everywhere: shampoo; toys; nail varnish; raincoats; plastic toys; hospital equipment; pesticides; dairy products; water…

So Everything We Touch Is Toxic?

Well it seems that way and whilst it’s impossible to avoid everything that contains chemicals, at least a serious conversation about their impact on health and wellbeing has started and companies have made steps to limit their use.

There are studies showing a link between declining sperm production and motility and chemical levels. In 2015, researchers at Lund University tested 300 men, between the ages of 18-20, for sperm quality and found: “The higher metabolite levels (phthalate DEHP – diethylhexyl phthalate) the men had, the lower their sperm motility was 4.

If you are concerned about your fertility, Private Pregnancy UK can help you to find a top Fertility Clinic or Fertility Consultant.

So What Can I Do?

First, don’t panic. Research and testing is still being conducted, so we are some way off having tangible and comprehensive evidence as to the scale of the problem. But many people are taking sensible steps to limit their chemical exposure. Handy tips include:

  • Avoid plastics when appropriate
  • Don’t heat food in plastic containers
  • Eat organic to avoid pesticides
  • Make tea and coffee the old fashioned way – i.e. stay away from fancy coffee machines, use BPA free stainless steel kettles and glass cafetières

Also there are general tips to make sure that you are protecting your sperm quality and production:

  • Stop smoking
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don’t use your laptop on your lap
  • Cycle less
  • Try to de-stress
  • Watch your Wi-Fi exposure
  • Don’t have your mobile too close to your parts!
  • Limit hot baths and hot tubs
  • Make sure you exercise, eat well and are a good weight for your age and height
  • Drink water
  • Watch what medication you take

What Can I Do If I Already Have A Male Fertility Issue?

Fortunately, there are many procedures that can help diagnose and treat suboptimal sperm issues and male infertility. For more information please read our article Getting Help For Male Fertility Problems.

Although this trend and recent research is worrying, the benefit of knowing these facts is that we are able to better protect ourselves. It’s a good time, for men especially, to take stock of their lifestyles and to think seriously about when they would like to have children and what stehttps://www.privatepregnancy.co.uk/information-and-guides/useful-articles/getting-help-for-male-fertility-problems/ps they can take to ensure that this is a viable and healthy possibility.

REFERENCES

 [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4424520/
 [2] http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(03)00366-2/abstract
 [3] https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/young-people-missing-out-on-parenthood-due-to-a-lack-of-knowledge-about-their-fertility/
 [4] http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/lower-sperm-motility-in-men-exposed-to-common-chemical

 

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