While declining birth rates across much of the world have been the subject of concern for years, one recent study revealed that the situation could become far more serious within a few decades.
By the middle of this century, researchers believe that the average male might not be able to produce enough sperm to procreate, which could potentially lead to the extinction of the entire species.
The study included experts from several countries who studied the sperm count of men around the world, which showed a troubling decline in fertility.
As one researcher wrote, the “findings serve as a canary in a coal mine” and should trigger immediate efforts to reverse course.
Hagai Levine noted that sperm counts are less than half the level they were just 46 years ago, adding: “We have a serious problem on our hands that, if not mitigated, could threaten mankind’s survival. We urgently call for global action to promote healthier environments for all species and reduce exposures and behaviors that threaten our reproductive health.
Shanna Swan, another co-author of the report had previously sounded the alarm in a book suggesting that a “spermageddon” could lead to a median sperm count of zero among all men by the year 2050.
New sperm meta-analysis. Big takeaways:
• Sperm reduction is not localized, happening globally
• 50% reduction in avg sperm count since 1973
• Following this trend, the average man will not be able to have children unassisted by 2050https://t.co/kCg6ggOia5
— Ben Wilson (@BenWilsonTweets) November 30, 2022
As for the cause of this decline, the research cites “lifestyle choices and chemicals in the environment,” specifically noting the deleterious impact of obesity and the presence of BP and phthalates in many widely used consumer products.
Swan noted that these factors can lead to negative effects beyond a lower sperm count, explaining that the research is “consistent with adverse trends in other men’s health outcomes, such as testicular cancer, hormonal disruption, and genital birth defects, as well as declines in female reproductive health.”
Between 2007 and 2020, the U.S. birth rate declined from more than 69 births per 1,000 women to just under 56.
Columbia University Professor John Rowe outlined one of the economic problems that could result if the trend continues.
“All past projections of the proportion of the U.S. population that will be elderly, and eligible for Medicare and Social Security, have assumed that the previous higher birth rates remained constant,” he said in 2019. “As rates have fallen, and fewer young people ultimately enter the labor force and pay into the Social Security and Medicare Trust funds, the solvency of these funds is threatened.”