Is male fertility declining?
Some experts suggest that the sperm count is in decline.
At least that is how it emerges from the ‘1st National Semen Study of Young Spaniards‘ which concludes that more than half of males between 18 and 30 years old have a low quality sperm. The study has been carried out in more than 60 reproduction clinics distributed throughout the 17 autonomous communities.
This work, which has analyzed the samples of 1,239 young people, highlights that most of them do not meet the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO) that define the volume, mobility and concentration of sperm, which determine a good seminal quality and that reveals that pollution can contribute to this deterioration.
Pollution contributes to deteriorate the quality of sperm.
According to the study, this problem begins when the baby is in the womb, because it is at the mercy of toxic substances that can get through the umbilical cord and that influence the development of sperm as an adult.
For this reason, the most industrial and, possibly, the most polluted areas, such as the Basque Country, the Valencia Community and Catalonia, are those with the worst semen population, while in other regions such as Andalusia or Galicia, the percentage of the population With poor semen quality it is considerably reduced.
Among the substances that, according to the report, may interfere with seminal quality, include pesticides, disinfectants, solvents and other components used in the manufacture of industrial products.
What can be done to stop this decline?
Discarded the false myths that a long period of sexual abstinence guarantees a better sperm quality or that wearing tight underpants kills the sperm, there are several factors that do have a scientific basis. We have already cited the so-called “endocrine disruptors” (chemical substances that alter the hormonal system) in industrialized areas. It is also proven that men who ingest high levels of saturated fats have a 28% lower sperm concentration.
The most recent study, with a thousand young people in Denmark, has shown that regularly smoking marijuana, along with alcohol consumption, halves the quality of semen.
Other evidence suggests that stress reduces semen quality, probably due to hormonal changes in the body that result from stress.
How to know if my semen is good quality?
To determine the quality of the semen by means of a seminogram or spermiogram is one of the basic tests that are done to the couples who resort to a center of assisted reproduction for not achieving the pregnancy. Not in vain, in half of the cases the problem of infertility originates in the male and most of the time due to a low quality of the semen.
In this test different aspects are studied:
• Volume and characteristics of the semen: it is considered normal when the volume is above 1.5 ml and the Ph must exceed 7.2.
• Sperm concentration per unit volume: must be greater than 15 million per ml. All lower values are considered pathological in relation to fertility (oligozoospermia).
• Motility (ability to move) of the sperm: there must be at least 32% progressive mobile sperm. The lower values define the existence of an astenozoospermia.
• Morphology of the spermatozoa: so that there is no teratozoospermia the proportion of spermatozoa with an adequate morphology (head and tail) must exceed 4%.
Sometimes, in addition to the seminogram, additional tests are carried out to analyze or select the highest quality sperm that can favor the success of assisted reproduction procedures. If the results of the spermiogram establish the existence of a fertility problem, the test is usually repeated two or three weeks later to confirm the diagnosis.
All these tests can be performed at HC Fertility Marbella, where we provide a stress-free, comfortable and modern environment to help patients feel as comfortable as possible.
November 22, 2017
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