The Sperm Factor: infertility isn't just a female issue

Worrying sperm studies published this week highlight why infertility isn’t just about treating women.

A study published in Human Reproduction Update this week indicates that total sperm counts more than halved between 1973 and 2018 and the decline continues to accelerate. 

Key findings from the study of 53 countries included:

  • average sperm concentration fell around 51.6% from 1973-2018
  • total sperm counts fell 62.3% from 1973 to 2018
  • average annual decrease has been more than 2.6% since 2000

The report prompted several news outlets to publish headlines suggesting a looming reproductive crisis threatening the future of mankind is on the horizon. But is that the full story? 

Infertility has long been seen as a woman’s problem. While it’s true that women undergo the majority of fertility treatment, male factor infertility remains the most common reason for IVF in the UK (HFEA, Trends and Figures 2014-2016), accounting for 37% of IVF cycles. 

Sperm count has consistently been declining in the past decades, but the exact causes are unclear. Hypotheses include environmental factors such as exposure to pollution, chemicals and plastics, as well as lifestyle factors such as diet and smoking. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Professor of Andrology, Allan Pacey had a positive spin on the research. “Counting sperm, even with the gold standard technique of [the laboratory process] haemocytometry, is really difficult,” he said. “I believe that over time we have simply got better at it because of the development of training and quality control programmes around the world.”

We agree that it’s not time to declare a reproductive crisis just yet. 

If you are a man worried about the recent news about sperm, you can proactively understand your fertility with one of our at-home sperm tests. Through Mojo we offer at-home sperm testing for semen analysis without having to set foot in a clinic. And if your results are not what you expected, a fertility doctor can advise you on the best next steps, allowing you to plan your future with confidence and clarity. 

Book an at-home sperm test 

Enjoyed this read?

Submit your email to join our newsletter

By signing up for our newsletter, you consent to receiving our marketing emails. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the email. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

Linkedin logo