ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A new study claims that sperm counts in French men have decreased significantly over the past three decades.

Between 1989 and 2005, the number of sperm per milliliter in a sample taken from a 35-year-old man from France fell approximately 32 percent, Reuters Health is reporting.

And according to researchers, the trend extends beyond the European nation’s borders.

“A decline in male reproduction endpoints has been suspected for several decades and is still debated all around the world,” lead researcher Joëlle Le Moal of the Institut de Veille Sanitaire was quoted as saying to the news service. “Geographical differences have been observed between countries, and between areas inside countries.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta cited vices such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs, as well as environmental and habitual factors, for declines in sperm counts of men on their official website.

“Preconception care for men is important for improving family planning and pregnancy outcomes, enhancing the reproductive health and health behaviors of their female partners, and preparing men for fatherhood,” an article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology additionally noted. “Most importantly, preconception care offers an opportunity, similar to the opportunity it presents for women, for disease prevention and health promotion in men.”

In France, the reported average number of sperm in a milliliter was 74 million in 1989. In 2005, it had allegedly fallen to 50 million.

“That’s certainly within the normal range,” Grace Centola, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology in Birmingham, Alabama, noted of the numbers to Reuters Health. “[B]ut if you think about it, if there continues to be a decrease, we would expect that we’ll get into that infertile range.”

Le Moal and others researchers involved in the study reportedly scoured a database of France’s fertility clinics – 126 in all – that chronicled semen samples between the specified years. The team subsequently narrowed the pool of viable samples down to 26,600, all of which were allegedly given by men with infertile female partners, in an effort to diminish the inclusion of men with influencing fertility issues of their own.

Their findings were publishes in the journal Human Reproduction, Reuters Health additionally learned.


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