Are your swimmers fit?

According to a study done by the University of Copenhagen, sperm counts in the 1940s were typically well above 100 million sperm cells per ml, but researchers found that they have dropped to an average of about 60 million per ml.

Scientists claim that internationally, sperm counts have halved over the past 50 years, with close to 20% of men between the ages of 18 and 25 having sperm counts defined as abnormal.

While it is not clear what the exact cause for this all time low is, scientists blame lifestyle, environmental as well maternal-lifestyle factors.

Studies showed that a man who smokes reduces his sperm count by 15%.

A man whose mother smoked during pregnancy has a significantly lower sperm count of up to only 40%.

Obesity and diabetes has also been linked with reproductive problems and reduced sperm quality in men.

Consistent failure to fall pregnant can be tough on any relationship.

Netcare Alberlito Hospital urologist, Dr Riaan Venter agreed that there is a decrease in male fertility on certain continents.

“A huge study of over 48 000 patients from the University of Jerusalem showed a definite decrease of fertility in European patients. Interesting enough the same was found in North American patients but not Asian or African patients.

“The reasons could be that the funding and interest for studies in Asia and Africa is lacking but the most obvious causes include high levels of hormones and toxins in the genetically modified food we eat, obesity causing a raised temperature in the scrotum, cigarette smoking, and increased stress levels,” said Dr Venter.

On the North Coast, however, Dr Venter said male infertility was lass of a problem.

“The amount of patients coming for vasectomies are huge in comparison to the men with fertility problems. I do believe our lifestyle, healthy outdoor activities and good, fresh food all contribute to that. We are a healthy, sport loving community and that is a recipe for easy pregnancies.”

If, however, you might feel the need to boost your fertility, a recent study suggested that you should swap that cold beer for a cup of Rooibos tea.

Spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council Adele du Toit, said a recent study conducted on rats by the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) found that rats on red and green rooibos with their high antioxidant content had a significantly higher sperm count and motility.

“Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, which causes degenerative problems at a cellular level on a variety of tissues, from organs to sperm. Although the studies were conducted in rodents, rooibos could potentially have the same positive effect in men,” said Du Toit.

>>  Ready to say ‘I Do’ on the Dolphin Coast? Meet the team ready to advise, help and deliver on your big day.

>>  Visit our Education feature for a collection of all the best schools, tutoring systems, and even some colleges and training facilities on the North Coast.

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Elana Geist

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