Yes, sperm counts are plummeting

You have likely seen the news: A new study in the journal Human Reproduction Update provides further evidence that men’s sperm counts are in a deep, global decline.  The researchers found that from 1973 to 2011, sperm counts dropped 53% (1.4% per year) and show no sign of “leveling off” anytime soon. 

What do the study authors think about their findings?

“Extremely worrisome.”

“Hard to believe.”

“A major public health issue.”  

In other words, it’s a big deal.


How did they study this?

This new study is actually an analysis of 183 global studies conducted between 1973 and 2011 with a sample group of nearly 43,000 men.  The researchers’ objective was to evaluate trends over time.


Did they only evaluate sperm count? 

Yes.  Measuring other sperm parameters - motility, morphology, etc. - is more subject to error than measuring sperm count.  Sperm count is also more subject to change than other parameters, and is specifically tied to chances of conception and fertility outcomes. So the authors focused on sperm count only.


Why are sperm counts going down?

Nobody really knows for sure.  Leading explanations include rising obesity rates, exposure to chemicals, climate change, sedentary lifestyle, higher stress, and poorer diets – all of which have been clinically shown to reduce sperm quality.  It’s likely some combination of these and other factors.  You can use the Trak: Sperm Health & Fertility app to identify the biggest risk factors in your life, and to learn what you can do about it.


What does this mean? 

A few things:

  1. A global drop in sperm count was first reported in 1992, but those findings (and subsequent studies) have been debated due to low numbers of men in the studies. This new study largely puts that controversy to rest.  Sperm counts are falling.
  2. These findings have economic ramifications – declining fertility and birth rates impacts our ability to sustain the aging population. Basically, the human species needs fertile men to survive.
  3. Sperm counts can change. If you want to be a dad, the sooner you can identify your risk factors and adopt healthier, more sperm-friendly lifestyle habits the better your chances of conception.


We’re here to help.  Trak was built to help you take control of your reproductive health early and often so that together we can reverse this trend.

Curious about your count?  Get Trak today and take that first big step.


Reference: Levine et al 2017. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis.  Human Reproduction Update 1-14.