New research has revealed that there could be a decrease in sperm counts in humans due to exposure to every day chemicals.
In an experiment carried out by Professor Neil Evans from the University of Glasgow that lasted a year long, 12 sheep were grazed on land on which human wastes were applied. The mothers of these experimental sheep were also grazed on the same land to ensure that the experimental sheep were exposed throughout their life cycle. Twelve control sheep also participated in the experiment.
AdvertisementIt was found that 42% of the animals studied had low sperm counts.
The sheep were subjected to euthanasia and their testicles were studied. It was found that 3 sheep had smaller sized testicles and that there was a reduction in the sperm-producing germ cells in the testicular tissues. The testes of two other sheep looked normal but their sperm count was very low.
It was not clear why only five sheep were affected out of the twelve studied. It was assumed that the difference occurred either because of genetic factors or the way they were exposed to chemicals.
Man-made chemicals are known to have deleterious effect on plant, animal and human life. The study reveals that despite the concentration of single chemicals being low in the environment, it is difficult to assess the health effects they have on human life when they are combined with other chemicals.
Similar studies conducted previously have revealed that every day chemicals affect the health and reproduction, especially in young animals that are born to mothers exposed to a mixture of these 'impacting' chemicals.
The demand for in-vitro fertilization has increased like never before. According to British -based Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), a 5.9 per cent rise in IVF treatments has been reported between 2009 and 2010.
The Male factor accounts for 40-50% of the total infertility cases. Smoking, alcohol, doing drugs, mumps, obesity, certain medications and diseases are some of the factors that affect male fertility. Exposure to environmental chemicals, including detergents, cosmetics, and other pollutants are being listed among other causative factors.
Stress is another factor that is affecting fertility. Long hours at work, work-related pressure and sexual abstinence is not only affecting man's ability to reproduce but is negatively impacting his overall health. The boom in technology and the ubiquitous use of electronic devices have also adversely affected the reproductive potential of many.