A new study shows that male infertility has been skyrocketing — with the amount of men seeking treatment going up seven-fold and the quality of semen dropping dramatically over the last 15 years.
“This is a public health concern,” said Dr. Ashley Tiegs, lead researcher on the seed study.
She spoke to the Daily Mail over the weekend about the results, which are set to be presented Monday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Denver.
Her team analyzed samples from fertility centers in the US and Spain between 2002 and 2017.
“Total motile sperm count has shown to be more productive of outcomes for pregnancy,” Tiegs explained. “It’s also been correlated with embryo development and expansion routes. We wanted to know if total motile sperm count was affected and if it is declining, then what are the implications?”
Tiegs’ team not only found that the number of men seeking treatment increased from 8,000 to 60,000 during the time frame, but sperm counts also dropped as well.
In addition, the rate of male-related IVF cases has risen — and is expected to get even higher.
“We weren’t expecting to find that, that the trend of sperm count declining has real treatment implications,” Tiegs said.
According to researchers, the average age of men receiving fertility treatment is 36 years old.
Individuals with a total motile sperm count between zero and 5 million are typically required to undergo IVF treatment if they want to conceive.
A count of over 20 million is considered normal by experts. The number of men with below-average sperm counts has been plummeting since 2002, according to Tiegs.
She attributed to drastic drop to “environmental factors like plastics and smoking and obesity.”
“We know obesity is on the rise, and it does affect sperm quality,” Tiegs said. “It increases the risk of morbidity and mortality, but it can also affect offspring too.”
Tiegs’ findings come a year after researchers at Hebrew University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai released data showing a 59 percent drop in sperm counts since 1973.
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