Study finds drop in average sperm count

Research carried out in France between 1989 and 2005 has found that there has been a decline in sperm concentration of the average man.

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 5th December 2012

The study examined data from 26,609 partners of totally infertile women undergoing an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures in the whole of France over the 17 year period between 1989 and 2005.


The scientists from the Institut de Veille Sanitaire in Saint Maurice, found that there was a continuous and significant decrease in semen concentration of about 1.9% per year, around 32% during the study period.   The authors claim that the results were robust after sensitivity analysis.

Wider implications

In their conclusion, the researchers discussed the wider implications of the study:

“As the men were selected without a priori knowledge regarding their semen quality characteristics, the results are expected to be close to the values in the general French population. The very large sample size and the robustness of the results confer great statistical power and credibility to the results. To our knowledge, it is the first study concluding a severe and general decrease in sperm concentration and morphology at the scale of a whole country over a substantial period. This constitutes a serious public health warning. The link with the environment particularly needs to be determined”.

More information on male fertility

Dad to be? Get healthy with nutrition for healthy sperm.Dads-to-be can improve the quality of their sperm by adopting a healthy lifestyle four months before trying to conceive. See our article on nutrition for healthy sperm here.

Male FertilityAbout 70% of male infertility is treatable and in some case can be avoided. Find out more in our article male fertility factor.

Source:  The Journal of Human Reproduction,  Decline in semen concentration and morphology in a sample of 26 609 men close to general population between 1989 and 2005 in France,  December 2012

Image: Comprock @ Flickr

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