Numerous studies have suggested that worldwide male fertility has decreased dramatically over the last 50 years as measured by sperm count. Experts have speculated as to the cause of the decrease in male sperm counts, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the direct cause.
A new study, however, may have uncovered a responsible party in the worldwide infertility epidemic.
Researchers out of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities exposed sheep to chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, detergents and pollutants that humans typically interact with.
As a result of the exposure, they found abnormalities in the testicles of the animals that could result in low sperm count in 43% of the sheep.
The changes were not consistent among the animals or easily identified by blood hormone levels or testicle size.
Researchers are now working on identifiying why the chemicals had greater effects on some sheep.