It’s very common to talk about female infertility, however there has been a growing trend that has brought men’s fertility into the spotlight, and recent data and research reveals a concerning trend in declining sperm counts around the world.
The University of Geneva in Switzerland decided to investigate further into the situation and began by looking at Swiss Men and how they compare the rest of the world. The assessment looked at three key indicators of male fertility: the concentration, the motility and the morphology in accordance with reference vales issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Almost 60% of the men fell short on at least one of the three indicators and 5% had issues with all three.
To investigate further, University researchers looked at the diets and lifestyle factors of the men who undertook the study and also went back an entire generation to find answers as to why they were seeing these results. When looking at the parents of the young men, a crucial environmental factor continued to creep up – those whose mothers had smoked while they were pregnant were more likely to have a son with poorer sperm quality.
Another alarming trend they discovered was the high instance of testicular cancer in young Swiss men compared to other European countries. Professor Serge Nef from the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development in UNIGE’s Faculty of Medicine stated that not only “the observed decrease in semen quality is more likely to be related to environmental factors rather than genetics,” but also for “35 years, testicular cancer has grown steadily to over 10 cases per 100,000 men, which is very high compared to other European countries.”
Although this research certainly warrants following up on, it also highlights further health concerns related to environmental factors, especially the long term health of children born from mothers who smoke during their pregnancy.