Male fertility in the U.S. is declining. From 1973 to 2011, sperm concentration plummeted by 52%. Today, around 9% of guys of reproductive age experience fertility challenges.
Reasons for that decline may include the epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the use of certain medications, excess alcohol intake, and abuse of recreational drugs. Environmental factors such as endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and radiation may also be involved.
Fortunately, guys are finally talking about the topic more openly, allowing for better diagnosis and treatment.
For example, chef Gordon Ramsey (who now has six children) has explained the struggles he faced. "I had a very low sperm count, on the back of standing in the kitchen for that length of time close to the stove," he said.
A new study suggests another possible culprit: cell phones.
A team from the University of Geneva tracked the sperm quality of 2,886 Swiss men ages 18 to 22. They found that over several years, there was a 21% decrease in sperm concentration for frequent phone users (over 20 times a day) compared to rare users (one or fewer times weekly).
What may help counter this trend?
Improved lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, avoiding personal care products that are not made with all-natural substances, regular sleep, and especially stress management may increase fertility.
A multivitamin may also help. And according to a meta-study in the International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine, taking antioxidant supplements, vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10 improves semen concentration in infertile men.