Sperm Counts Are Plummeting on These 3 Continents, and No One Knows Why

| ©LDWYTN/Shutterstock

US Editorial Team Lead

Sperm quality in Europe, North America, and Australia has declined significantly over the last four decades, according to an analysis published by the American Society of Andrology.

“Hopefully, this new study will serve as a wake-up call for health and research authorities, as well as for the public,and for young people in particular,” Richard Sharpe, honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, told Newsweek.

Why is it a wake-up call? Fertility is a hot-button issue among researchers in western nations, and this new analysis shows that it may be an even bigger problem than previously thought. For context, a 2015 United Nations report found that fertility levels worldwide have reached “unprecedented lows.” North American couples have 1.9 children on average. Compare that to 4.9 children per couple in Africa and the disparity is not only evident; it’s impactful. Of course, some of the disparity has to do with access to family planning. Still, researchers say, sperm concentration and sperm count are contributing factors.

Researchers in the present analysis combed through data from 182 studies between 1973 and 2011. Over that 38-year period, sperm counts fell a whopping 59.3 percent. The decline was most significant in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Though the analysis was thorough and spanned years, researchers did not take the next step to figure out why western nations were more severely affected than others. Speculated causes include global warming, obesity, and processed food. However researchers admit that this should be the catalyst for more research to explore the causes of such a sharp decline.

“Because male fertility and sperm count are very susceptible to the environment, it’s a great model to study the modern environment’s impact on human health,”study author Hagai Levine told Popular Science. “The big take away is: Houston, we have a problem.”

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.