The number of sperm in men is declining at an accelerating rate worldwide

A pen is held in front of a semen analysis displayed on a computer screen.
Image: dpa

Sperm concentration has fallen by more than 51 percent in four decades. This is the conclusion Israeli scientists have come to. The reasons for the fertility-threatening decline urgently need to be researched.

DAccording to a new study, the number of sperm in men worldwide is decreasing at an ever faster rate. Between 1973 and 2018, the average sperm concentration fell by more than 51 percent – from 101.2 million to 49 million sperm per milliliter of semen. The data also suggested “this global decline is accelerating in the 21st century,” according to the study, published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction Update.

According to the researchers led by the Israeli epidemiologist Hagai Levine, the number of sperm is currently falling at a rate of 1.1 percent per year. The reasons for this are unclear. More research and measures are therefore urgently needed to prevent the reproductive ability of men from deteriorating further.

For their meta-analysis, the researchers evaluated the data of more than 57,000 men from 223 studies in 53 countries. It essentially confirmed the findings of a 2017 study, which was criticized for only including data from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

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