संकट घटते हुए शुक्राणुओं का : खतरे में मानव जाति? Sperm Crisis: Human Race in Danger?

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


Dinosaurs were wiped out from this planet. Researchers also predicted the same about humans. Many theories were put forward about human race extinction. The invention of the atomic bomb prompted a wave of discussion about the risk of human extinction among scientists, intellectuals, and the public at large (Moynihan, Thomas, September 23, 2020). And then recently, we had SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It could have been, and still could be, any number of infectious agents that bring the world population wiped out. But this one, COVID-19, is a particularly voracious and devious evolutionary wonder for which humankind so far is no match (see the book written by the author “Corona Gyan”). 

In addition to the above-mentioned threat, reproductive biologists after studying the trend line of human sperm reduction predicted that by roughly 2045 the number of sperm will be approaching zero. Men’s reproductive health is in bad shape and female fertility is being affected too. Girls are experiencing earlier puberty and women's eggs are losing viability at younger ages. Young adults are post-planning marriages and because of career-making ambition postponing pregnancies. Further, researchers today are unraveling the many elements that determine the sex of an organism. While genetics is a predominant factor, stress, trauma, and climate can be contributing factors in declining human fertility.

Estradiol, the hormone predominately present in females, in men it is present though in small quantities but essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and sperm production.  High levels of estrogen can cause a variety of problems such as short stature, delayed puberty, infertility, erectile dysfunction(ED), depression, gynecomastia (development of female characteristics), sometimes it can cause diabetes, tumours of the adrenal glands or testicles, thyroid problems, liver disease in the male body.

Researchers today are unraveling the many elements that determine the sex in humans. While genetics are a predominant factor, recent studies point out that stress, trauma, and climate can contribute to sex as well. Stress normally triggers the of releases cortisol(stress hormone) this hormone suppresses other central hormones such as testosterone. As the testosterone level depletes, the estrogen level soars.

Sperms are produced in large numbers to ensure the fertilization of the ovum. In the female reproductive tract, as sperms swim up to meet the ovum, there are various obstructions that lead up to fertilization: Some sperms die due to vaginal secretions, or due to their short life span. A major study in 2017 discovered that sperm count amongst men in Western countries has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past four decades( from 99 million per ml in 1973 to 47.1 million per ml in 2011. That represents a steep sperm count decline of 53.4% in men. 

Motile human sperm and their path in female system

"Phthalates, used to make plastic soft and flexible, are of paramount concern," for decreasing sperm count. "They are in everybody and we are probably primarily exposed through food as we use soft plastic in food manufacture, processing, and packaging."

"These chemicals lower testosterone and so have the strongest influences on the male side, for example diminishing sperm count, they are bad for women, too, shown to decrease libido and increase risk of early puberty, premature ovarian failure, miscarriage, and premature birth." It actually poses an existential threat to humanity. In fact, she projects the world is on track to be completely infertile by 2045."The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival. Also, those who plan to have children should be wary of the plastics they bring into their home such as Teflon, BPA, and phthalates. Otherwise, Children might look more like a documentary than a fictional movie one day. (The author has his own study and views)