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Declining Sperm Count: a Crisis in Male Infertility

In recent decades, a concerning trend has emerged – a decline in sperm quality and quantity among men worldwide. This decline, coupled with various environmental factors, has contributed to a significant rise in male infertility cases. As the fertility industry continues to expand, the economic implications of this issue are becoming increasingly apparent.


Decline in Sperm Quality and Count:

Research indicates a significant decline in sperm quality and quantity over the past few decades. Studies have shown a 50% reduction in sperm concentration and a decline in sperm motility among men in Western countries since the 1970s (1). This downward trend has raised alarms among scientists and healthcare professionals, as it poses a serious threat to male fertility and reproductive health. Poor sperm health is also correlated with an increased risk of miscarriage.


man hugging woman

Sperm Health, Male Infertility and the Fertility Industry:

The decline in sperm quality has fueled a booming fertility industry, which offers a range of treatments and solutions for couples struggling with infertility. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), have become increasingly common methods for overcoming male infertility. The U.S. fertility industry was valued at $7.9 billion in 2022. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 13.6% and predicting fertility services to reach $16.8 billion by the end of 2028. This is clearly an indicator that prevention methods need to be further investigated.



Environmental Factors Affecting Sperm Health:

Several environmental factors play a significant role in declining sperm quality and male infertility. These factors include:


  1. Smoking: Smoking tobacco and marijuana has been linked to decreased sperm count, motility, and morphology. Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage sperm DNA, leading to infertility (2).

  2. Overconsumption of alcohol: 5+ drinks per day or 15+ drinks in one week is considered heavy drinking. 1 drink = 1 shot, 12oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, 8-10 oz of higher alcohol drinks like hard seltzers or IPA.

  3. Poor Diet: Diets high in processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats and low in fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants can negatively impact sperm health (3).

man working at desk

4. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity is associated with poor sperm quality. Regular exercise can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology (4). Increased desk jobs, working from home, and lack of movement throughout the day may play a role with this.


5. Obesity: Obesity has been linked to hormonal imbalances and decreased sperm production. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is essential for optimal sperm health. Weight loss also correlates with improved fertility rates.


6. Environmental Toxins: Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, can impair sperm function and fertility (5). Examples of products disrupting hormones includes: cologne, body wash, shave gel, deodorant.


7. Stress: Chronic stress from work, family, lack of community (friendships), trauma, relationships, and more can disrupt hormone levels and sperm production, leading to infertility issues (6).



Addressing the Crisis

To combat the decline in sperm quality and male infertility, concerted efforts are needed at both individual and societal levels. Promoting healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and smoking cessation, can help improve sperm health. Additionally, reducing exposure to environmental toxins and managing stress levels are essential steps in preserving male fertility.


Taking supplements may be beneficial, but if you aren't addressing other issues, you won't get all the benefits from them.


The decline in sperm quality and quantity poses a significant challenge to male reproductive health and fertility. As the fertility industry continues to thrive, addressing the underlying causes of this decline, including environmental factors and lifestyle habits, is crucial for reversing this trend. We NEED to address the root cause issues and not rely alone on pharmaceutical interventions.



Have you had an abnormal semen analysis or has your partner experienced recurrent pregnancy losses? Check out my 'All Natural Fertility' program which provides step-by-step instructions on improving poor sperm health as well as recommendations for supplementation.

zaremba all natural fertility program


 

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If you are looking for a more personalized approach to improve your sperm health and improve chances of conceiving, you can click here to sign up with a complimentary 15 minute phone call with me. We can discuss your goals at that time and determine whether or not we will be a good fit for each other.


Katie Zaremba Natural Fertility Doctor

Dr. Zaremba received her bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in Biomedical Sciences and minored in Chemistry and Psychology. She completed her doctoral training at Palmer College of Chiropractic. During her time in school, she took post-doctoral training through The Clinic on Disease and Internal Disorders (CDID) earning her a Diplomate from the American Board of Chiropractic Internists (DABCI).



 

References:

  1. Levine, H., Jørgensen, N., Martino-Andrade, A., Mendiola, J., Weksler-Derri, D., Mindlis, I., ... & Swan, S. H. (2017). Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Human Reproduction Update, 23(6), 646-659.

  2. Sharma, R., Harlev, A., Agarwal, A., & Esteves, S. C. (2016). Cigarette smoking and semen quality: a new meta-analysis examining the effect of the 2010 World Health Organization laboratory methods for the examination of human semen. European Urology, 70(4), 635-645.

  3. Salas-Huetos, A., Bulló, M., Salas-Salvadó, J., & Dietary Patterns Investigators of the PREDIMED-Plus Study. (2019). Dietary patterns, foods, nutrients and semen quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Human Reproduction Update, 25(2), 251-269.

  4. Vaamonde, D., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M. E., García-Manso, J. M., Vaamonde-Lemos, R., & Swanson, R. J. (2013). Sperm motility as a function of body mass index and sperm characteristics. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, 59(3), 139-144.

  5. Pant, N., Kumar, G., Upadhyay, A. D., Gupta, Y. K., & Chaturvedi, P. K. (2014). Reproductive toxicity of lead, cadmium, and phthalate exposure in men. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 21(18), 11066-11074.

  6. Sengupta, P., & Dutta, S. (2018). Are lifestyle changes associated with a decrease in male reproductive health? Asian Journal of Andrology, 20(6), 520-527.


This web site offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information and is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this web site. The use of any information provided on this web site is solely at your own risk. Nothing stated or posted on this web site or available through any services offered by Dr. Katie Zaremba DC, Dr. Katie Zaremba LLC, are intended to be, and must not be taken to be, the practice of medicine. Information provided on this web site DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and any doctor affiliated with our web site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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