09:58 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Brave New World

    Sperm Count First Please!

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    John Harrison
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    Sperm counts have plunged by over 50% in just 40 years among men living in those western countries where data was gathered according to the results of a major research program. How valid is the research, how worried should we be and what is the cause of this?

    Joining the program is Dr. Hagai Levine, the head researcher at the university where the research was carried out: the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine.

    "The results show that sperm counts among western men have declined by over 50% in both total sperm counts and sperm concentration among western men regardless of their status from 1973 to 2011. Furthermore, after 1995 we found that the decline increases," Dr. Levine states.

    Host John Harrison asks how it is possible to know for certain that the results methods are valid. Dr. Levine explains in depth, however interestingly comments that sperm counts were first recorded over 100 years ago in 1902. "It's a very simple and reliable method. You take the sample, put it on the slide, and you count the sperm. It is a very reliable method, and different observers and different labs do this, and you get very similar results. This method has not changed over time, we are using exactly the same method now." A further discussion takes place as regarding Professor Pacey's (UK) critical appraisal of the research, and attention is paid to the sampling procedure and possible bias.

    The reasons that research was carried out in one location and not another is discussed. "Most of the data comes from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, we don't have as much data from South America, Asia and Africa… Meta-analysis is very conservative so you need a lot of data for it… we need to find out what is happening in other parts of the world, but as far as we can establish, the rates are declining in non-western parts of the world also, but not as fast as in white western countries, but we need more data to confirm this."

    Regarding causes, Dr. Levine spoke off the record that he is very worried about our exposure to new chemicals. "We know that some of them easily disrupt the development of our hormonal system. I am talking about pesticides, this sort of chemical."

    "My father said to me, that if you are going on a date, you may need to show a card with your sperm count, so that you are a good candidate!"

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    sperm, humanity, Australia, Israel, Europe, North America, South America, United Kingdom, New Zealand
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