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Jun 09

Male Infertility: Did You Know That Sperm Count Is Dramatically Declining?

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spermmensfertilityIt’s Men’s Health Week (9th-15th June 2014) and whilst much has been written about the previously taboo male health topics such as prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction, the area of male infertility has, until recently, been relatively ignored. Most information and support around infertility is directed at women, however in 40% of cases, the cause of the problem lies with the man.1

Recently, doctors and researchers have been looking at the decline in sperm quality in all men, one of the more common causes of male infertility, and speculating on the causes for this alarming and growing problem. Up to a fifth of young men today have a low sperm count (defined as fewer than 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen2) and the number of sperm in each millilitre of semen has halved between World War Two and 1992, while abnormal sperm is on the rise.3 We can’t be sure why this is happening, although a recent study suggests that a combination of different chemicals found in everyday packaging and toiletries, may be having an impact.

To help couples who are trying for a baby but may be experiencing issues such as low sperm count and motility issues, The Stork is a new home conception aid, which uses cervical cap insemination and bridges the gap between starting to try for a baby and in-clinic treatment options.

“Male fertility is an area which has been greatly over looked over the last few years so it’s encouraging to see this research examining the causes. It’s important for men to think about their fertility – not just their partner’s – when planning a family. Overheating, obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking can all impair sperm quality and motility. Some men may feel their masculinity is compromised in some way when they learn they could have fertility issues, but it is better to deal with these head on than bury your head in the sand. Ask your doctor to investigate what might be the cause so you can identify potential solutions. For some couples with low sperm count or low motility, the new at-home conception aid, The Stork, can help because it puts the sperm as close to the egg as possible,” said Professor Ellis Downes, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

1. Schiffer C., Müller A., Egeberg D. L., Alvarez L., Brenker C., Rehfeld A., Frederiksen H., Wäschle B., Kaupp U. B., Balbach M., Wachten D., Skakkebaek N. E., Almstrup K. and Strünker T. (2014), Direct action of endocrine disrupting chemicals on human sperm. EMBO

2. NHS Choices: Low sperm count. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-sperm-count/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Last accessed June 2014]

3. Elizabeth Carlsen and others, “Evidence for decreasing quality of semen during the past 50 years,” British Medical Journal, 305, 1992, 609-613