Sheffield lecturer urges caution on male fertility study

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A SHEFFIELD fertility expert has urged caution over a new medical study which claims sperm counts among men have declined by more than 30 per cent over the last two decades.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at Sheffield University, said the research ‘does not resolve the issue’ of whether sperm counts have declined or not.

The study was carried out in France and involved samples taken from more than 26,000 men.

In the report, published in the journal Human Reproduction, scientists said numbers of sperm fell at a rate of about 2 per cent a year between 1989 and 2005.

The authors said the results showed a ‘significant’ 32.2 per cent decrease in sperm concentration over 17 years.

Dr Pacey said: “There is no doubt this paper is a useful contribution to the literature, but I would urge much caution in its interpretation as there remain too many unknowns.

“In my view, the paper certainly does not resolve the issue of whether or not sperm counts have declined.

“The change in sperm concentration described is still well within the normal range.”

But he said there ‘remains a need to be vigilant’ on the issue.