A recent research led by Pallav Sengupta of Lincoln College of Malaysia has shown that there is evidence of decreased sperm concentration in the African male over 50 years.
A recent research led by Pallav Sengupta of Lincoln College of Malaysia has shown that there is evidence of decreased sperm concentration in the African male over 50 years. The research report says Nigeria is suggested to have been the worst hit by fertility problems among its men with the male fertility factor accounting for 40-50%. It also states that the average sperm concentration is too close to the World Health Organisation’s cut-off value for comfort. This is however, not an exclusively African problem with researchers also finding that sperm counts among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have halved in less than 40 years.
Studies by Sengupta and his team based on previous findings in the field showed that there was a time-dependent decline in sperm concentration from 1965 to 2015 reflecting an overall 73% decrease in sperm concentration. Professor Uchenna Nwagha, co-author of the research said, “I was amazed at the magnitude of the problem. 72 percent decline over time is a dangerous downward trend. This situation is indeed scary.”
The Conversation, basing on the report on fertility findings largely focused on the West said that if the data on sperm counts is extrapolated to its logical conclusion, men will have little to or no reproductive capacity from 2060 onwards. If African findings are factored in, 2060 might be an overly optimistic estimate. Dr. Hagai Levine who led the research on fertility in Western countries for the Human Research Update’s conclusion that the decline in sperm count and quality will eventually lead to the extinction of the human species no longer sounds exaggerated.
The latest research focusing on African men identified poorly treated sexually transmitted diseases, hormonal abnormalities, consumption of excessive alcohol and tobacco smoking as major causes of the decline. However, it found exposure to pesticides and heavy metals as the principal triggers of decreased sperm concentration. A number of occupations were also found to be risk factors for fertility with professional driving being the perfect example. Exposure of professional drivers to products of fuel combustion, noise, vibration, emotional stress among other things has been seen to be related to lower sperm counts. Wearing tight pants which hold testes close to the body has also been seen to have effects on sperm count and discarding tight underwear results in noticeable improvement in sperm count.
Professor Nwagha has been managing infertility in Nigeria and he observed declines in sperm count as well as in women’s ovarian reserve over time. He says, “Apart from life style and others, one situation in Nigeria is the effect of environmentl toxins from generators. Most Nigerians rely on generator sets for electricity as public power is grossly inadequate, unreliable and epileptic, in the face of enormous urbanization and deforestation.”
Sadly, male fertility is not given the importance it deserves in public health policies. Most efforts have been directed towards the field of gynecology whereas andrology has been forsaken as observed by Patrick Uadia and Abiodun Emokape. Part of the cause is that infertility has culturally been attributed to women and investing in andrology was considered a waste since “women always have the problem”. This erroneous belief could be why humanity goes extinct!
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