Bad news for humanity: falling sperm counts and changes to sexual development are “threatening human survival”.
A leading scientist has warned that falling sperm counts are leading to a fertility crisis. It’s a ticking time bomb for those who are hoping to conceive in the future.
Modern lifestyles are to blame, with tobacco smoking, marijuana use and growing obesity all playing a role.
Shanna Swan is an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
In a new book, she is warning of an impending fertility crisis. Swan says it’s a threat that should be treated as seriously as the fear surrounding the climate crisis.
“The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” she writes in Count Down.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017. They found that sperm counts in the west had dropped shockingly.
The counts were down by 59% between 1973 and 2011. That’s an unbelievable reduction, and unsurprisingly made waves at the time.
The future is looking even worse.
According to Swan, if things continue the way they’re going, then the median sperm count is set to reach zero in 2045.
“That’s a little concerning, to say the least,” she told Axios. Talk about an understatement. The current projections are not good.
Swan and co-author Stacey Colino have written this book to explore how modern life is threatening sperm counts.
Not only that, but our lifestyles are changing male and female reproductive development and endangering human life.
The danger of these changes are posing a huge threat. Swan argues that if nothing changes, then humans could become an endangered species.
She wrote: “Of five possible criteria for what makes a species endangered, only one needs to be met; the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three.”
Swan says we must protect ourselves from damaging chemicals. She also stresses people should “do what we can to safeguard our fertility, the fate of mankind, and the planet”.
The global fertility rate between 1964 and 2018 fell from 5.06 births per woman to 2.4.
Fertility rates in around half of the world’s countries has fallen below 2.1. That’s the population replacement level.
What’s Causing It?
Swan says there are many indicators that suggest there are also biological reasons for our fertility decline.
These include increasing numbers of miscarriages, more genital abnormalities among boys and earlier puberty for girls.
Swan says one of the biggest dangers is “everywhere chemicals” that can be found in plastics, cosmetics and pesticides.
These chemicals reportedly affect endocrines such as phthalates and bisphenol-A.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she writes.
Are you worried?
Image via Alamy.