What causes Low Sperm Count? Are average Sperm count levels for men going down? Many studies over the years have suggested that t that global semen quality is declining. This has been confirmed over the years in many countries where epidemiological studies have been performed on average sperm counts.
A great way to study the state of affairs is the study of sperm counts of sperm donors. Sperm donors are just young men with no known fertility problems so average sperm donor counts should be representative of what is going on in the overall population.
In this study out of Israel the investigators compared what percentage of donor spem applicants were rejected because their sperm count was too low. What they discovered was that significantly more sperm donor applicants were below the acceptable values today compared to 15 years ago. This is despite the fact that over the past 7 years we have significantly lowered the standards.The authors conclude that : " If the old strict criteria were in place 88% of candidates would be rejected today" .
What is the cause of the decline in sperm count. There is no question that the environment intended both as environmental toxicants and inadequate diet is playing a major role.
I*s there any way to offset these environmental effects: there is no doubt that adequate supplementation with powerful antioxidants and minerals can offset some of the deleterious effects of the world we live in.
Despite the lowering of criteria for sperm parameters satisfactory for donation that were implemented in 2004, 38% of applicants for sperm donation are now rejected based on semen quality as compared to a third of applicants 10-15 years ago (P < 0.001). If the old strict criteria were in place 88% of candidates would be rejected today (P < 0.0001). Over the study period, the average sperm parameters dropped from a concentration of 106 +/- 25 million spermatozoa/ml with 79% +/- 4.3% motility to 68 +/- 14 million/ ml with 66% +/- 4.5% motile sperm (P < 0.0001, P < 0.0001, respectively). The total motile sperm count per ejaculate also decreased, from 66.4 +/- 18.2 million to 48.7 +/- 12 million (P < 0.005). When the previous criteria were implemented for the analysis of the latest group of sperm donors, only 18% of donors had an acceptable sperm quality, with an average concentration of 87 +/- 12 million spermatozoa/ml, 73% +/- 2.6% motile sperm and total motile sperm count of 53.1 +/- 3.8 million per ejaculate - still significantly lower than 15 years ago (P= 0.01, P= 0.003, P= 0.058 respectively).CONCLUSIONS:
The rapid deterioration of sperm quality among fertile semen donors is alarming
Haimov-Kochman R, Har-Nir R, Ein-Mor E, Ben-Shoshan V, Greenfield C, Eldar I, Bdolah Y, Hurwitz A. Is the quality of donated semen deteriorating? Findings from a 15 year longitudinal analysis of weekly sperm samples. Israel Medical Association Journal. 2012. Jun;14(6):372-7.