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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old December 5 2012, 01:08 PM   #1
lurok
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Falling sperm crisis?

Male-fertility-falls-France

I thought this might be more appropriate to S&T rather than Misc or TNZ as infertility is a serious personal issue for those affected and shouldn't be made light of.

This is the precis:
The researchers used data from 126 fertility treatment centres. They found that from 1989 to 2005, there was a 32.2 per cent decrease in concentration of sperm – a rate of nearly 2 per cent a year.
but I'm curious what the science minds here think of the research and possible causes. Although the study is from France I've seen other news reports today that suggest it might be a wider phenomenon in developed countries.
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Last edited by lurok; December 5 2012 at 03:02 PM.
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Old December 5 2012, 02:52 PM   #2
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

I wonder if they are comparing men of the same age, or looking at general population fertility, which would understandably be declining in a population whose age pyramid is shifting upward.

This is definitely a big deal but I am at a loss to explain it. Seems like nobody knows why this is happening. I've heard the tight underwear hypothesis before, and it's conceivable that that's a contributor, but I would find it hard to believe that'd cause an almost 1/3 decline in fertility over a mere 16 years.
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Old December 5 2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

I've always worn tight underwear - boxers are uncomfortable.

When we started trying I was hoping / expecting it would take a while, if ever (I wasn't quite on board !).

As far as we can tell, it took two days. Tight underwear doesn't do much damage...
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Old December 5 2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I've always worn tight underwear - boxers are uncomfortable.

When we started trying I was hoping / expecting it would take a while, if ever (I wasn't quite on board !).

As far as we can tell, it took two days. Tight underwear doesn't do much damage...
Heh, same here. We actually thought it would take at least 6 months to bear fruit (so to speak), so we were prepared for a long haul. This was more due to her problems, but I also wear briefs, so we thought it might take a while.

Yeah, it took maybe a couple weeks.
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Old December 5 2012, 03:43 PM   #5
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

If anything, i'd think that boxer-briefs have overtaken the traditional tight briefs in popularity, so don't think that's much of a factor...
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Old December 5 2012, 06:15 PM   #6
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

I wonder if drinking out of--and cooking in--plastic containers that had BPA in it could have contributed to this. While there's not a consensus on the toxicity of BPA, looking at some of the other effects that are strongly suspected for it makes me wonder if it, or a similarly widespread chemical, could be having that effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Health_effects
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Old December 5 2012, 06:20 PM   #7
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/con...15.short?rss=1

Original article.
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Old December 5 2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

I think we started trying about four months prior to the wedding, as we were in our early thirties and didn't want to waste any time after we committed to each other. The timing was such that if we got lucky on the first cycle, it wouldn't be TOO obvious around the time of the nuptials.

Turns out we got pregnant three days before the wedding, and we didn't find out until after the honeymoon and its associated boozing and partying. In retrospect I'm glad it happened then, since my wife was ultimately diagnosed with hyperemesis gravitum (i.e. mega morning sickness, i.e. what Duchess Kate's going through right now) and her puking her guts out for the first trimester would've been the LAST thing we needed leading up to the wedding!

Anyhoo, this is potentially a huge problem for people two generations from now; I would hope a cause can be found, and that it's something environmental and hopefully treatable before it goes all Children of Men on us.

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Old December 5 2012, 08:01 PM   #9
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

Perhaps this is the world's way of telling us to slow it down with the procreation. We have enough humans.
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Old December 5 2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Perhaps this is the world's way of telling us to slow it down with the procreation. We have enough humans.
It is no such thing.
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Old December 5 2012, 11:42 PM   #11
Geckothan
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I wonder if drinking out of--and cooking in--plastic containers that had BPA in it could have contributed to this. While there's not a consensus on the toxicity of BPA, looking at some of the other effects that are strongly suspected for it makes me wonder if it, or a similarly widespread chemical, could be having that effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Health_effects
The dangers of polycarbonates are vastly exaggerated. Yes, they do release BPA when exposed to heat or light, but it's generally not an issue unless you leave a bottle of water in a hot car in direct sunlight all day before drinking from it, or you use plastic containers to cook things in.

Obviously they still degrade slowly in normal conditions, but the rate is negligible. Yes, you will always be exposed to some BPA when you consume things from such containers, but under normal circumstances, it will take such a long time for the damage to become noticeable that you'll probably have age-related conditions to worry about anyway.

There's a reason that such bottles/containers have warnings like 'keep out of sunlight', 'do not reuse' (that one is also due to bacterial growth) or 'not suitable for cooking' on them, and people who ignore warnings deserve to lose their sperm anyway. Natural selection!
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Old December 5 2012, 11:44 PM   #12
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

It's the cell phones. We are doomed.
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Old December 6 2012, 12:48 AM   #13
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

I seem to recall either a TNG episode, an SG-1 episode or some sci-fi show that said the reason is that aliens were controlling the growth of the species so that in time there would be no more humans uncontrolled.

Cant recall what show that was from.
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Old December 6 2012, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

^There was a Stargate SG-1 episode kind of like that. I don't remember the title, but it was somewhere about season 3-4 if I remember right.
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Old December 6 2012, 04:33 AM   #15
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Re: Falling sperm crisis?

"2010" was the episode title.

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