Fall In male Sperm Count A Global Problem.
Fall In Male Sperm Count A Global Problem.
The dwindling figures of male sperm count has left doctors baffled with the prospect of procreation in men. Every man in this generation is perhaps half the man his grandfather was because analysis show that male sperm concentration has fallen to a large extent. It's indeed a sign of disaster since it affects male fertility. The drop in sperm count is not only observed in India but even round the globe. Nearly, 9 out of 10 men have idiopathic oligospermia that is an unknown shortage of sperm for which medical science has no specific answer.
In the past more than 50% of newly married brides use to conceive within the first month of their married life. Around 50yrs back infertility was predominantly a female problem but, now nearly 60% of infertility cases are male related. In the 40's and 50's men had an average sperm count of 120million per ml. But, however since the last 20yrs the sperm count has fallen to 80 million per ml. Research has shown that the concentration of sperm per millilitre of semen has reduced by 1.9% a year. In the last 17yrs the count has come down from 73 million sperm per ml in 1989 to 49.9 ml in 2005. There has also been a fall in normally formed sperm by 33% in the same period. The average threshold of male infertility is 15millon but still it continues to be below the threshold of WHO which is 55million per ml of seminal fluid. The reproductive health of the average male is declining sharpely followed by a rise in testicular cancer and male sexual disorders such as undescended testes.
The quality of sperm has also deteriorated and not only the count which adds to fall in birth rate which is not a voluntary birth control. A high percentage of abnormal sperms have been discovered in the recent times with two heads or two tails. The motility rate of sperms is also on the decline from 60% to 70% in the 50's to 30% to 40%. The average seminal volume has also fallen from 3.7ml to 2ml. Motility (movement) and morphology (shape and size) have to be normal to avoid any abnormal child being born. Weak and malformed sperms have a poor chance of meeting an egg even if they do so chances are very high of a baby with a congenital defect being born.
The Sperm Killers.
The cause for the fall in sperm count can be many like stress, alcoholism and even tight fitting briefs. A smokers sperm concentration is 15% to 24% low than the average level. Alcoholism and drugs damage the testicles. Male infertility is on the rise among agricultural workers in agricultural belts of our country.The decline in male fertility is also believed to be caused by environment factors. Our rural population is at a high risk due to the use of heavy pesticides containing xeno-estrogens. Vehicular traffic pollution is also another factor that contributes to male infertilitywhich is due to exhaust of motor vehicles.Hence, traffic constables and inspectors become victims of lead poisoning. This leads to a drastic fall in their sperm count which is sometimes found to be as low as 5 million per ml. Besides, bus drivers, farmers, welders,and spray painters are also vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Male infertility can also be caused due to blockages of the duct, infections in the reproductive system, and also sexually transmitted diseases. Sperm count itself is not the ultimate parameter in determining fertility, for it keeps fluctuating. A man with a high count may go sub fertile in a fortnight if he comes under heavy stress. Depression is another factor responsible for a sudden fall in sperm count. A fall in sperm count below 20million per ml will definitely affect his fertility but, again the quality of the sperm will determine his chances of becoming a parent.
The hormones that control reproduction are estrogen, testosterone and progesterone.They affect not only our skin body temperature and sexuality but also our moods and personalities as well. Man made and natural chemicals are capable of mimicking and disrupting the action of the sex hormones. DDT a well known pesticide blocks the action of male hormones called androgens. Heavy metals widely used in industrial and household products such as paints, detergents, lubricants, contraceptives, cosmetics, textiles, pesticides, and plastics. By products of sewage treatment and waste incineration and other forms of combustion could also be estrogenic. Exposure to one chemical at a high level or exposure to a range of chemicals at a lower level gives the same results.
Phthalates:- They are found in products as baby milk formula, cheese, margarine and potato chips. They can cause death and decay of testicular germ cells. The chemical is absorbed by the product packed by it or from manufacturing process.
Alkylphenolic Compounds:- They are found in liquid detergents,, shampoos, cosmetics laboratory detergents and pesticides. They are used in sewage treatments which enters the rivers and sea. Fish and birds ingest these compounds.
Bisphenol A :- It is found in polycarbonate plastic for food packaging and cans of tinned vegetables.
Organochlorine Pesticides:- DDT is used for mosquito control and general agriculture. However, developed countries have stopped it's use. Pesticides such as lindane and atrazine are popular in the western world. Lindane is used on crops such as cereals, cabbages, apples, pears, tomatoes, strawberries etc. Exposure to these pesticdes reduces sperm motility and produces a high percentage of abnormal sperm. If at the same rate the male sperm count keeps dropping then the day won't be far behind when men will be left with only zero sperm count.