It’s Spermicide! Is Climate Change and Pollution killing sperm and possibly causing birth defects?
Research shows that hotter temperatures kill sperm, so it’s not farfetched that Climate Change would be literally killing sperm by the gazillions and possibly causing birth defects. Plus, another kick in the testicular sac is that research is now suggesting that pollution also affects sperm quality and quantity.
Firstly, is Climate Change real?
It looks like it is, there are still factions, media outlets, and individuals who don’t believe it’s happening, but if you look at average temperatures globally and within Australia, they are on an upward trajectory. Relative humidity appears to be on the rise as well. Humid air holds heat more efficiently than dry air.
The graph below is data extracted from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The graph shows that average global temperatures are rising.
Do increased temperatures affect sperm?
Research is showing heat is not good for sperm, plus it gives men sweaty nut sacks, that can’t be appealing for any women wanting to engage in baby-making activities 😊.
So, the news is not good for sperm. According to the studies, a male’s fertility is reduced when their testicular sac is exposed to higher temperatures, it reduces the live sperm count and it may also damage the remaining sperm that survives.
The research has shown the global sperm count has close to halved in the past 50 years and the rate of decline appears to be gaining pace. An international team says the findings are alarming and suggest it may lead to a fertility crisis. The team analyzed 223 studies based on sperm samples from over 57,000 men across 53 countries.
“Global sperm counts have reduced by 50% over the past 50 years and keep declining year to year!”
The results found that men in Asia, Africa, and Latin America experienced a reduction in sperm counts and loss of concentration of sperm which was also detected in Australia, Europe, and North America. The findings of low sperm counts are global.
In biological males, the testicles make sperm, and, to do this, the temperature of the testicles needs to be cooler than the inside of the body according to the University of Rochester. If global temperatures are increasing it would make sense that sperm counts would be lowering.
Do hot laptops and hot baths kill sperm?
That seems to be true, and it makes sense. Think about it, there is live sperm swimming around a man’s testicular sac, add a heat source and it would cook and kill the sperm.
Laptops can become extremely hot on a man’s lap and that heat would most likely kill sperm. A very hot bath would be just as bad for sperm. There are stories that men use a hot bath as a contraception method as it kills their sperm before sex. We have included some links to articles about this at the bottom of the page.
If hot laptops and hot baths kill sperm, then it would be easy to see why increases in global temperatures would reduce sperm counts as well.
Fertility Clinic’s advice is to keep your testicular sac or scrotum cool!
Here is a quote from a Fertility Clinic if you are trying to conceive a baby.
“Your testicles should be a couple of degrees cooler than body temperature to keep producing good quality sperm. Avoid hot baths and spas and wear loose-fitting underwear to keep your scrotum cool.”
This advice given is consistent with the research findings that rising global temperatures would be affecting sperm quality and lowering sperm counts.
Does pollution contribute to poor sperm quality and reduce sperm counts?
Recent studies have led researchers to believe there is a link between air pollution and decreased semen amounts, motility issues, and sperm concentration.
Motility issues mean that the sperm does not know the right direction to swim, or the sperm is not as good at swimming as it should be, basically the sperm is less mobile.
Conclusively proving that pollution is linked to lower sperm counts and reduced sperm quality is more difficult than proving that heat kills and damages sperm. More research is required on the relationship between pollution and sperm.
There are links to more detailed articles about this subject at the bottom of this page.
If men are shooting more blanks in the last 50 years, why had the pollution increased?
The world population around 50 years ago was around 2.5 billion and it’s increased to 8 billion today. The reason for the population increase is that overall, globally, couples are having more than 2 kids. Any couple who has more than two kids increases the population which therefore increases the number of pairing couples which keeps the population growing and growing. It is true that in many Western countries, they are having fewer kids but overall, globally there were more couples having more than 2 kids. People are also living longer these days.
A slightly lower sperm count also does not mean fewer babies if the average couple is having more sex today than in the past. Having more sex will compensate for the lower sperm count, maybe we can attribute people having more sex to websites like PornHub!
If live sperm counts are lowering to the point where it is affecting fertility, then we might start to see a reduction in the global population. In fact, according to search results found on Google, population growth has now been decreasing due to a decline in total fertility rates, so the declining live sperm counts may already be reducing population growth.
Are poorer sperm counts also reducing the quality of sperm, which leads to more birth defects?
Here is an excerpt from a news story on CNN Health. There is a link to the full article at the bottom of this page.
“The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the number of cases of the birth defect nearly doubled from 1995 to 2005. The problem has continued to increase since 2005 for babies born to mothers of every race and age group. For non-Hispanic black women under age 21, the rate increased by 263%, which was of particular concern, researchers said. Scientists tracked birth data in 14 states.”
When higher temperatures are exposed to the scrotum it reduces the sperm count, so the question is, does it also damage the remaining sperm that survives? For example, the logical conclusion would be that if the live sperm count was reduced by 50% due to exposure to high temperatures, then the remaining 50% of sperm would be damaged by the same heat. So, are higher temperatures also damaging the live sperm which is possibly leading to the increased number of birth defects? Research in this area continues which hopefully in time will unveil what is happening to our sperm and the babies it produces.
Can we save our sperm and what the future may hold?
If the planet continues to warm then it becomes very difficult to predict the future, only as it reaches those hotter temperatures that the problems caused by the extra heat will be fully revealed and then it’s a case of whether can humans deal with those problems or not.
We are humans after all, and we can manipulate our surroundings to save our sperm. If it gets hot, we can use air conditioning, but the energy to run all those air conditioners in the future may become more difficult to obtain. We can freeze sperm and have clinics to compensate for hotter temperatures, but not all of us in this great big world have air conditioning, clinics, and the infrastructure to deal with rising temperatures.
There are many locations around the world where there is no air-conditioning, infrastructure, clinics or relief from hotter temperatures. These locations could have serious problems in the near future in regard to their fertility dropping very rapidly.
If hotter temperatures are killing our sperm at what point will men’s live sperm count, go to zero?
Studies today have shown that 50% of live sperm is already lost in some places and the rate of decline per year is increasing, we are losing live sperm faster now.
So where is the line in the sand, at what level of temperature increase do we have a zero live sperm count? Is it at a 0.1-degree higher temperature, a half-a-degree higher temperature, a 1-degree higher temperature or is it more? It may be cumming sooner than you think, and no, that’s not a typo!
So if you’re trying to have kids, keep your balls cool!
Further reading on this subject.