Male fertility is falling every year in the Western world — and experts blame chemicals and modern lifestyles. A study of 124,000 men visiting fertility clinics in Europe and the USA found sperm quality reducing by almost 2% per year.
Separate research focusing on 2,600 sperm donors [men with above-normal fertility] showed a similar pattern. While most men can still father a child, scientists say the human race faces extinction if the trend continues.
It follows a landmark study last year showing a 59% cut in Western sperm counts from 1973 to 2011.
Pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals, stress, smoking, and obesity are seen as causes, along with too much alcohol, caffeine, and processed meat.
The chemicals include some used to make plastics flexible and furniture flame-retardant – which can enter the food chain via plants or animals.
Experts also blame increases in testicular cancer, the number of boys born with one or both testicles missing, and changing testosterone levels.
Scientists in Valencia, Spain, and New Jersey, USA, carried out the first large-scale study of “swimming” sperm, known as the total motile sperm count.
Men were split into three groups with low, medium and high counts. The TMSC of those in the highest US group declined by 1.8% each year.
The findings are causing alarm at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Denver, Colorado, this week.
Co-author Dr. James Hotaling said: “There is potential for more men to become infertile and that is concerning.
"It takes two people to make a child.”