Guest Essay by Kip Hansen — 22 November 2022

A little lighter-hearted news of the imminent demise of humankind.  Asked about his most recent study of worldwide sperm counts, Hagai Levine an Israeli researcher,  gave the press the statement in the red (for crisis) box.  [ source ]

We will excuse Levine for not getting the cliché right – English is probably not his first language.  He means that “low sperm counts” are the canary….I think.

Back in 2017, Hagai Levine, and his team  published a paper “Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis”.   The “Wider Implications” of its Abstract read:

“This comprehensive meta-regression analysis reports a significant decline in sperm counts (as measured by SC and TSC) between 1973 and 2011, driven by a 50–60% decline among men unselected by fertility from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Because of the significant public health implications of these results, research on the causes of this continuing decline is urgently needed.”

The Times of Israel includes the following statement in a 2017 article on this study:

“This definitive study shows, for the first time, that this decline is strong and continuing,” said Swan [professor in New York’s Icahn School’s Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and co-author]. The fact that the decline is seen in mainly in Western countries, strongly suggests that external factors like chemicals and lifestyle play “a causal role in this trend,” she said.

[WUWT had a piece on the 2017 study here. ]

Levine re-did his study to capture data from the rest of the world and then meta-regression-analyzed it in his latest 2022 follow-up study: “Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of samples collected globally in the 20th and 21st centuries

”WIDER IMPLICATIONS:  This analysis is the first to report a decline in sperm count among unselected men from South/Central America–Asia–Africa, in contrast to our previous meta-analysis that was underpowered to examine those continents. Furthermore, data suggest that this world-wide decline is continuing in the 21st century at an accelerated pace. Research on the causes of this continuing decline and actions to prevent further disruption of male reproductive health are urgently needed.

As always, the press uses the alarming quote in which Levine says, (repeating our quote from above):

“Our findings serve as a canary in a coal mine. We have a serious problem on our hands that, if not mitigated, could threaten humankind’s survival. We urgently call for global action to promote healthier environments for all species and reduce exposures and behaviors that threaten our reproductive health.” [ source ]

Well, Dr. Swan’s guess that the cause must be “chemicals and lifestyle” in the Western countries didn’t play out…the same team found the same thing in the less-developed global south.  The 2022 paper doesn’t lay any blame or propose causes, but does call for “Research on the causes of this continuing decline and actions to prevent further disruption of male reproductive health are urgently needed.”

Let’s see the paper’s money graph:

You’ll notice that this graph is based on “meta-regression models”….and Levine is happy that his new study confirms and reinforces the findings of the 2017 study. 

But what about his predictions of the demise of mankind?

The first study, 2017, found declining sperm concentration (SC) and total sperm counts (TSC) in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and the second, 2022, found the same for South/Central America, Asia, and Africa.  It would be informative to look to see if this dire situation has been affecting human populations for the last 20 years or so:

I don’t see that any of the predicted adverse effects from sperm counts or total sperm counts on the burgeoning populations of any of the continents.  Population growth trends appear rising even more rapidly up after 1955/1960 — and show no signs of slowing down – despite Levine’s findings of lower sperm count or concentration numbers.

And fertility rates? 

Fertility rates come down as standards of living go up.  In North America, we see the post-WWII baby boom and as time passes, by 1970-75, that rate has come down and stays fairly flat. Every continent slopes downward and by the turn of the century, every continental fertility rate, with the exception of Africa, and the global fertility rate has settled down to just above or below 2. 

Interestingly, looking just at the North America trace (amber), we might see the effect of the Zero Population Growth movement (Paul Erlich and crowd) which gained traction in the late-1960s which may have suppressed fertility rates into the 1980s when it began to rebound a bit to “2”.  The replacement rate in developed countries is consider to be 2.1. 

Africa still remains both poverty-stricken and saddled with a high fertility rate:  60 percent of the population in Africa is under 25 years of age, it is literally a continent of children.    

Doesn’t look like there is a  human fertility problem (male or female) anywhere.

Bottom Line:

Spermaggedon seems to be something we can add to Patrick Moore’s list of  “Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom”.

For better or for worse, humans keep reproducing and the human population keeps growing.

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Author’s Comment:

Dr. Levine and his co -researchers may have found something – and it may be declining sperm counts and total sperm concentrations. And maybe “if things kept going that way” (trend lines extended far into the future) it may affect human fertility.  It has not done so as of yet.

Whatever your viewpoint on human population growth may be, it is clear that there is no fertility problem slowing down our burgeoning numbers.  In the Most Developed Nations (USA, UK and the Empire, EU) fertility rates are generally below the Replacement Rate.  Immigration to the Most Developed Nations results in growing total populations in those countries.

The most hopeful solution to “over-population” is to help poorer nations raise their standard of living.  I put quotes on over-population because it is not universally agreed that over-population exists globally.  It certainly exists in the sense that many countries and localities have far more people than they can reasonably care for with local resources.

For the record, my wife and I have four adult children.  So, statistically, we have supplied replacements for ourselves. 

# # # # #

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November 21, 2022 10:28 pm

It’s the chemicals in shampoo.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 22, 2022 6:31 am

That comment is head and shoulders above the rest.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 22, 2022 10:36 am

That’s only if you use the shampoo down below.

November 21, 2022 10:31 pm

Not enough CO2!

November 21, 2022 10:39 pm

Being nagged by The Greta.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 4:06 pm

For which she should receive many thanks.

Elliot W
November 21, 2022 10:51 pm

Reminds me of the warning a few years ago that men who chatted on cell phones for hours each day had low sperm counts. I said the study’s conclusion was flawed: it was just as likely that men who talked that much had low sperm counts!

But —— these people should have looked at the sperm counts of a variety of animals, both wild and domestic, before jumping to any conclusions.

I hate “scientific studies” put together so badly that they would not have passed muster by my high school science teachers back in the day.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Elliot W
November 22, 2022 5:08 am

“it was just as likely that men who talked that much had low sperm counts!”
I had a good laugh with that!

November 21, 2022 10:56 pm

Maybe explains why some of the kidz these days have made a left turn, off a cliff. But then every generation says that about the younger generation, since time immemorial. We are doing reasonably fine, and the planet is doing fine. We couldn’t have got to 8 billion people if we weren’t.

November 21, 2022 11:59 pm

If you and your wife have four adult children, you’ve statistically replaced both yourselves *and* a childless couple.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  DaleS
November 22, 2022 10:11 am

My wife and I have 9 grandchildren (using the traditional two sex system 5 & 4), so we’re doing our bit for the UK.

Reply to  DaleS
November 22, 2022 12:59 pm

If I had replaced myself, a lot of people would never forgive me.

Javier Vinós
November 22, 2022 1:21 am

It’s clearly a global testicle warming problem. Increasing CO2 emissions must be the cause.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 1:12 pm

In humans at least, the high the temperature, the lower they “hang”. (Except in the heat of the moment.)
Which makes me wonder. Bill Clinton was once asked if he preferred boxers or briefs. He said boxers.
You’d think that he’d go with briefs to help avoid a “Bimbo Eruption” (Hillary’s term during his campaign) that would be harder to hide.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 3:09 pm

When I lived in Scotland, back in the good old 1960s, I heard it asserted several times that Scottish men who wore kilts with no underwear had high sperm counts. At the time I thought this was just idle boasting, but there are published studies apparently confirming it, e.g.


Possibly true even with underwear, as Scottish weather does tend towards cold, wet and windy, ideal for keeping those nuts cool.

Martin Brumby
November 22, 2022 1:37 am

My guess is that people in developed countries are less likely to want very large families as they hope to be able to provide the resources for their old age without expecting the kids to look after them. And they start families later.

I’m not saying that is necessarily a good thing but, at least, it is largely their choice.

I doubt if low sperm counts greatly affects family size other than an unlucky (at times tragic) number of cases.

Africa’s problems are very largely the result of dreadfully poor governance since independence.

The country to watch is Japan. Highly developed, very civilised, birthrate way below ‘replacement’. More very old people than anywhere else. The use of automatons is interesting, not only robotic carers but robotic cats and grandsons.

Reply to  Martin Brumby
November 22, 2022 4:09 am

people in developed countries are less likely to want very large families”

Because infant mortality and deaths from childhood diseases are now very, very low.

Royal families, however, still need to play it safe.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 9:34 pm
Ed Zuiderwijk
November 22, 2022 2:00 am

I grow up in a catholic environment in which contraception was frowned upon. Youngsters were advised to practice ‘coitus interruptus’, colloquially known as ‘leave the church before the signing’. Now that I read that sperm count is a canary, it begins to make sense.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 22, 2022 5:41 am

The canary escaped. Happy ending.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 22, 2022 10:43 am

Or it could have been stated as an old army order, “Men, get prepared to pull out.”

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 22, 2022 1:07 pm

But every sperm is sacred!

November 22, 2022 2:41 am

It will be interesting in a few years to see how much damage the covid vax damage has done to the birthrate.

Reply to  gezza1298
November 22, 2022 12:58 pm
Reply to  gezza1298
November 22, 2022 5:54 pm

Yes, one wonders if this isn’t preparation to deny any effects on fertility associated with the jabbing mandates: ‘See, it has been going on for years.’

Ron Long
November 22, 2022 3:30 am

OK, let’s start a Cloning Program. How about Greta the Doomster and Al Sex Poodle Gore?

November 22, 2022 3:39 am

There is no shortage of pregnant phone viewers or female phone viewers pushing babies and toddlers around.

So how can that be?

Joseph Zorzin
November 22, 2022 5:07 am

Drop in sperm count? Must be do to climate change! /sarc

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 22, 2022 8:25 am

In 40 years, at present decline rates, sperm count will be ZERO…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 22, 2022 10:29 am

Nobody is gonna swallow that.

another ian
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 22, 2022 6:09 pm


comment image

November 22, 2022 5:22 am

Tucker won’t like this article.

November 22, 2022 5:26 am

Doesn’t a low sperm count mean that it takes more “tries” to get a woman pregnant? I guess we all should “try harder”…..

Reply to  Yooper
November 22, 2022 5:38 am

Watch out for those headaches…

Reply to  Yooper
November 22, 2022 5:43 am

How can you know what a woman is if you’re not a biologist?

Reply to  Yooper
November 22, 2022 6:41 am

I am on board with that.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Yooper
November 22, 2022 8:44 am

oh, such a burden on us!

Paul Hurley
November 22, 2022 6:00 am

Yes, a “problem on our hands” seems a poor choice of words. 😉

Gunga Din
Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 1:31 pm

So are we back to the chemicals in shampoo?

Reply to  Paul Hurley
November 22, 2022 8:20 am

Being in “their hands” could be the problem.

Tom in Florida
November 22, 2022 6:30 am

Soy….soy is the problem as it is put in too many things these days. It is almost like women want to de-sperm men to take over the world.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 22, 2022 8:46 am

they’ve done it in Massachusetts- with our new lesbian govenor and most state agencies are now headed by women

Mary Jones
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 22, 2022 12:44 pm

As someone who is allergic to soy, I can tell you it is in the vast majority of prepared foods in North America.

November 22, 2022 6:32 am

Why do we need a million when one is enough?

November 22, 2022 8:43 am

Men have gotten more overweight in western countries during the past few decades. There is a known mechanism for decrease of testosterone from getting overweight. One of a man’s body’s two mechanisms for regulating testosterone involves sensing the level of estradiol, which is made in a man’s body from testosterone. Body fat is one of the tings that makes estradiol from testosterone.

Reply to  donklipstein
November 22, 2022 10:24 am

An increase in average fat mass was my first thought.

November 22, 2022 9:04 am

Could it be that because of contraception men are having more sex so don’t have full loads? Could also be a masturbation crisis…

Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 11:05 am

Interesting findings.

“Sexual activity among young American men has declined sharply since 2000, with nearly a third reporting no sex with a partner in the prior year,”

“Sexual activity was largely unchanged among unmarried women,”

So the other 2/3rds are making up the difference. 🙂

Reply to  gyan1
November 22, 2022 1:15 pm

Could also be that they didn’t account for vasectomies.

Dr. Jimmy Vigo
November 22, 2022 10:02 am

Another issue is biological: science says that men produce an enormous amount of spermatozoids, like overdoing it; however only one is enough to fertilize a female egg. So this study should include a statistical measure to determine if the observed lowering is indeed decreasing the chances of fertilization. In addition, how can it explain that the observed decreased is an actual deviation from the normal. Sounds like the alarm is not quite supported by the data. Realize that this is at the bottom line a biological issue, so without biological analysis this an incomplete experiment. I don’t see strong evidence to speculate the conclusion of decreasing human survival. Thanks. JBVigo, PhD

Reply to  Dr. Jimmy Vigo
November 22, 2022 11:05 am

Changes in measurement over time may also be a factor. 50-60 years ago, an individual doctor would do the count in the office. Now samples are sent out to labs. So there may also be problems in standardization of measurement.

Also, are there good random samples of the male population?

cf: The majority of previous attempts to develop valid reference populations for spermatogenesis have relied on potentially biased sources such as recruits from infertility clinics, self-selected volunteer sperm donors for research or artificial insemination or once-fertile men seeking vasectomy. It is well known that studies requiring semen analysis have low recruitment rates which consequently question their validity.


November 22, 2022 10:32 am

Maybe it’s because of too-tight underwear? 🙂

Wait, it must be glow-ball warming reaching thru our clothes!

Bill Parsons
November 22, 2022 12:12 pm

“… canary in a coal mine…”

Strangest analogy for sex I’ve ever heard.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bill Parsons
November 22, 2022 1:38 pm

One must be cautious about to whom one gives “the bird”.

Lee Riffee
November 22, 2022 12:22 pm

An interesting thing to note when you look at the graph showing fertility rates. The major drop (mostly in western countries) coincides with the availability of hormonal birth control for women, which has nothing to do with sperm vitality or lack of.

November 22, 2022 12:49 pm

Spread pollen liberally, for the sake of the species.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
November 22, 2022 4:05 pm

I’m hankering for the 50’s.

Edward Katz
November 22, 2022 2:20 pm

If lower sperm counts lead to declining populations, isn’t this a good thing because, according to the alarmists, too many people equal resource consumption that’s too high. This in turn supposedly causes greater emissions amounts and ultimately climate change, which in itself threatens all species. Except the eco-geeks are never satisfied so now they’re trying to tell us that lower human growth rates are a bad thing.

November 22, 2022 2:36 pm

So where and how did he get the sperm count data from 1972 to 2000? If this study has similar flaws to many climate studies (e.g., hurricane frequencies), maybe we are just seeing observational or methodological changes over time that have little to do with sperm counts.

Before computers, massive numbers of out-of-work scientists, and the rise of the governmental-industrial complex, I question whether many people were measuring or concerned about sperm counts

Pat Frank
November 22, 2022 7:43 pm

The trend in sperm count clearly follows modern improvements in feminine couture since 1970.

another ian
November 22, 2022 8:34 pm

This doesn’t mention shampoo –

Swedish Study Links Declining Fertility Rates to COVID Jab Roll Out”



another ian
Reply to  another ian
November 22, 2022 8:36 pm
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