New research has been released revealing that there has been a worrying decline in sperm count over the last four decades among men in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
The lead researcher on the case, a Dr Hagai Levine, has warned that if the trend continues, the human race could face extinction.
The alarming drop in sperm count, which has seen a decline of 50% since the 1970s, has been linked with changes evident in modern day life such as stress, diet, watching too much TV and obesity.
While there is no clear evidence of their role in affecting sperm count, it is thought that exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and plastics may also be a problem.
“If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future,” Dr Levine, who is from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said.
“Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species.”
The research, which assessed the results of nearly 200 studies, is one of the largest ever carried out, and has taken into consideration tests from years spanning 1973 to 2011.
The ‘very worrisome’ trend has only been found in Western men however, with no significant decline found in men living in South America, Asia and Africa.
Despite the dramatic and concerning results of this most recent study, Prof Allan Pacey of Sheffield University has advised that we should treat the figures caution.
“The debate has not yet been resolved and there is clearly much work still to be done.
“However, the paper does represent a step forward in the clarity of the data which might ultimately allow us to define better studies to examine this issue.”
“We must take action – for example, better regulation of man-made chemicals – and we must continue our efforts on tackling smoking and obesity.”