A new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that sperm concentration has fallen drastically among men worldwide since the 1970s, and the drop is accelerating.
The study published in the Human Reproduction Update built on data from a study published five years ago that gathered information on sperm concentration in men from Western countries, The Guardian reported. The newest study looked at data from 57,000 men in 53 countries around the world, finding that sperm concentration dropped 51% between 1973 and 2018, from 101.2m per ml to 49.0m per ml.
Sperm counts dropped 1.2% per year between 1973 and 2000, but the rate accelerated to 2.6% per year from 2000 to 2018, which the study’s lead author, Professor Hagai Levine, called “an amazing pace,” according to USA Today.
“The key point that needs to be made is that this is desperately bad news for couple fertility,” said Professor Richard Sharpe, an expert in male health at the University of Edinburgh.
Sharpe added, “These issues are not just a problem for couples trying to have kids. They are also a huge problem for society in the next 50-odd years as less and less young people will be around to work and support the increasing bulge of elderly folk.”
While it remains unclear what’s causing sperm counts to fall so drastically in less than 50 years, experts have a few theories. Some point to fossil fuel pollution as the reason for lower sperm concentration, saying that the pollution even affects unborn children, while others point to health issues related to obesity, poor diet, drinking, and smoking as possible factors.
Levine said the numbers should spark the world into crisis mode. “I think this is another signal that something is wrong with the globe and that we need to do something about it. So yes, I think it’s a crisis, that we [had] better tackle now, before it may reach a tipping point which may not be reversible,” he remarked.
As leftist climate activists argue that the globe is facing an existential crisis of overpopulation, some experts are warning about a decrease in fertility and births, even arguing that falling sperm counts could “threaten human survival.” Troubling drops in birth rates in some of the planet’s largest countries like the U.S., Japan, and China have caused alarm over the past year. The U.S. fertility rate has dropped by about 2% per year since 2014, hitting record lows in 2020, 2019, and 2018, The Daily Wire reported in July. Meanwhile, Japan saw a record natural population decline in 2021, and China’s birth rate fell to a record low the same year.
The issue made headlines again over the summer when billionaire Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk commented on what he sees as a global underpopulation problem.
“A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far,” he tweeted.
“Far too many people are under the illusion that Earth is overpopulated, even though birth rate trends are so obviously headed to population collapse,” Musk added.