Dr. Helen

What's Happening to Men's Sperm?

According to the New York Times, men are worried about their sperm count:

SAN FRANCISCO — Dr. Paul Turek was on his way to speak to employees at a cryptocurrency investment firm one recent afternoon about a growing anxiety for the men in the office: what’s going on with their sperm?

Is there enough? Is the existing supply satisfactory? Are we men enough?

“They’re worried, right?” Dr. Turek said. “And we’re O.K. with the worry.”

Last summer, a meta-analysis of 185 studies in which semen was collected over the past 40 years indicated that sperm concentration seemed to have consistently and remarkably declined in the course of a generation.

Different clusters of people — urologists, anthropologists, men’s rights activists and start-up founders — became quietly concerned about the state of sperm. Quiet, probably, because Americans are more used to talking about women and fecundity. And also quiet because there has not been much research aimed at discovering if anything is actually happening….

Still, the study has had social impact. Some men’s rights communities are gathering around the idea that sperm counts are dropping because men are being feminized by society. There is now growing interest in testosterone replacement therapy, which some believe boosts sperm count. At the same time, smartphone-enabled at-home sperm tests are entering a heated market.

“We’ve been looking for this for years,” Dr. Turek said. “We were hoping it existed.” He hopes to turn sperm panic into a tool for preventive health. He sees a moment in which we can convince young men to take better care of their health overall to see their sperm quickly improve.

The problem is the “quietness” of this phenomenon. No one really cares if men’s sperm count is going down because the media and feminized culture act like testosterone and anything masculine is a minefield of trouble. I like that the researchers are trying to get young men to take care of themselves; it seems no one else in our society is. It is important that more research be done to find out what is happening and why.