Növekedés.hu was the first to report that, according to some data, the sperm count of Hungarian men has more than halved by the 2000s compared to the ‘70s. Age also matters: by the age of 45, a man has only half as much fertile sperm than at the age of 30, and the quality of the DNA stock also declines with age.
Árpád Szántó, the director of the Urology Clinic at the Clinical Centre of the University of Pécs, told InfoRádió about the topic. He said that the demand for artificial insemination procedures is growing, as men and women tend to have their first child at an older age. However, with age, reproductivity gradually deteriorates, which is equally true for men as well.
“The quality of sperm in older or ageing men is not as good as people in their prime. The best sperm parameters are in a man’s 20s and 30s. After that, prostate or other urological disorders may overshadow that capacity,”
a researcher from the National Laboratory for Human Reproduction added.
In roughly half of the infertile couples, it is the man’s condition that prevents them from having children. There can be several underlying causes; smoking and alcohol both have a negative effect on sperm vitality.
“The stress and rush of the 21st century did not do any good to hereditary or acquired diseases and urological inflammations in a man’s medical history,”
the researcher said, noting that when he was at medical school, he was taught that a healthy man has 40 million sperm cells per millilitre. According to the latest WHO standard, the normal sperm cell count is 17 million. It is evident that the sperm count in a healthy male population shows a declining trend.
According to the director of the Urology Clinic at the Clinical Centre of the University of Pécs, it is also a problem that while a woman visiting a gynaecologist is considered a natural thing, men usually visit a urologist too late or only if they have a complaint, but there is usually an effective treatment if the problem is recognised early.
Árpád Szántó highlighted that “currently, surgically, or by other means, they could even get sperm cells from the testicles of a man who has no sperm cells in his semen.
Obviously, this is done through an artificial insemination process, but medication, surgical techniques, and basic science are evolving fairly quickly”.
According to Árpád Szántó, a much wider range of men could have offsprings with the development of andrology, and the establishment of the National Laboratory for Human Reproduction is a major step forward in that area of research.
The Laboratory also aims to help approximately 150,000 infertile couples in the coming years.