Are Men Today Less Fertile Than Previous Generations?
Urologist says more study is needed before declaring "sperm crisis"
Are men today less fertile than their dads and grandads? It depends upon whom you ask, and one doctor says there's not enough information to tell one way or the other.
Listen to Ray Steele's report:
A report issued at a fertility conference in Europe last week said that in France, the sperm concentration of men decreased by nearly one-third between 1989 and 2005. That's similar to recent reports from other European countries. But Dr. Sam Thompson, a fertility expert with Urology of Indiana, says comparable studies have not been published in the U.S., and says the European studies may not tell a complete story.
Many reasons are given for the possible decline in sperm counts. "The biggest theory that people talk about are endocrine disruptors, which are basically estrogen and other female hormones that (some) claim are in our food, water and everywhere around us," said Thompson, who adds he doesn't believe you can blame environmental factors. "We've taken lead out of paint and gasoline. We've cleaned up our water and air pollution. In many ways, our environment is less toxic than it used to be."
Thompson says more work needs to be done before anyone can declare a fertility crisis, including a study of several countries at the same time, "because there are so many variables between different countries. If you are really thinking of the human race as a species and males in our human race, you need more of a worldwide study."