NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Sperm Counts Okay

March 29, 2000

A controversial 1992 study claimed that men's sperm counts had declined over several decades, perhaps because of environmental toxins. Subsequent studies have not confirmed those claims, including new findings published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

  • Researchers at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine examined 1,347 men over three years drawn from couples seeking treatment for fertility problems.
  • The scientists found that the men's sperm quality was similar to that seen in a landmark study 59 years ago.
  • Noting the group studied would be expected to have sperm problems, Rebecca Z. Sokol, lead author of the study, said, "We do interpret that it gives added credence to the idea that the counts aren't changing."

The most common problem with sperm among the men studied was not the quantity of sperm, but their ability to propel themselves.

Source: Eric Nagourney, "American Sperm, as Hardy as Ever," Vital Signs, New York Times, March 28, 2000.


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