Let’s talk sperm.
It’s an uncomfortable topic, and perhaps even gross. But without it, you wouldn’t be reading this.
And that prospect is precisely what Dr. Shanna Swan fears.
As reported by Axios, the Mt. Sinai Medical School epidemiologist has bad news — and an even worse prediction — where a liquid that leads to life is concerned.
According to a 2017 analysis co-authored by Shanna, the Western world’s collective swimmers have been taking a dive — between 1973 and 2011, there was a 59% decrease in sperm count.
And now, Shanna’s warning of the waning via a new book — Count Down: How Our Modern World is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
I know what you’re thinkin’ — sounds like a light read.
The Daily Caller sheds more light:
Between 1964 and 2018, the global fertility rate has fallen from 5.06 to 2.04. To make matters more concerning, many countries across the world, including the U.S., have fertility rates below replacement levels, according to a study from Yale Global. The affected nations account for about half of the world’s population, according to the study.
So the future of (pro)creation? It ain’t lookin’ good.
But why should you listen to Shanna?
Well, per the New York Post, “She’s been researching fertility for thirty years.”
In the ’80s, Swan studied a California miscarriage surge, which she linked to drinking water tainted by toxic waste.
Then in 1997, she set her sights on sperm.
And where it counts, there’s a dwindling amount to keep her attention.
From the Post:
We are already seeing the effects. Worldwide fertility has dropped by 50 percent between 1960 and 2015. The United States has a total birth rate that is 16 percent below what it needs to replace itself. Though there are obvious factors at play (couples are conceiving later and opting to have smaller families), Swan argues that the issues run deeper than personal choice.
Rates of miscarriages are on the rise and girls are experiencing earlier and earlier puberties (in some cases before the age of 8). “In some parts of the world, the average twenty-something woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes.
It’s no wonder then that the assisted reproduction technology market is worth about $21 billion and is projected to increase by 10 percent annually until 2025.
Still, fertility issues have been focused on women for too long.
“If women want to have a baby, they are often told, ‘Clean up your act,’ ” Swan writes. “But it’s probably more important for men to do so.”
So what’s causing the drop?
There’s a cauldron of possible culprits.
In teens and young adults, testosterone levels have dropped. Hence, the soaring testosterone replacement industry.
But according to Shanna, “90 percent of men can have their sperm counts drop to zero while they’re on it.”
And there’s this from the doctor:
Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balances, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc.
The Caller breaks it down:
These chemicals include phthalates and bisphenol-A, which are found in ordinary items like plastics, pesticides, cosmetics and even some receipts, according to Axios. Phthalates, which can make plastics flexible and allow beauty products to absorb scents have been linked to a decrease in the production of hormones like testosterone, according to a 2015 study from the National Library of Medicine.
Other potential plungers: tobacco and weed smoking, along with obesity.
All the doom and gloom’s enough to make people wanna curl up into little balls.
But surely there’s hope for humanity?
Shanna shoots straight:
“If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward–which is always risky–it reaches zero in 2045. … The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival.”
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