At the recent European Society for Reproduction and Embryology’s Annual Conference, this issue was hotly debated. A recent study from France showed that men’s sperm concentration decreased by nearly a third or about 2% per year. 73.6 million per ml was the average sperm concentration for a 35 year old man in 1989. By the year 2005, this figure had dropped to 49.9 million per ml. This study was published in “Human Reproduction”. This is quite a big study coming from 26,000 male partners of women who are going through infertility treatment at French Clinics between 1989 and 2005. While other European studies have shown a decline in sperm concentrations, there is little published work available from the United States. It may be that exposure to pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals such as Bisphenol A, lifestyle habits including smoking and marihuana and adopting a sedentary lifestyle, may contribute to this finding. These factors may come into play even before delivery of a male baby inside the womb.
Watch this space for more developments. Dr Sheahan will be attending the Fertility Society of Australia’s annual meeting in Sydney this year and the European Society for Human Reproduction and Endocrinology’s Annual Meeting in Munich, Germany in June/July 2014.