By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: South Indian men are increasingly turning infertile as compared with their counterparts in north India if the decline in sperm count, quality and motility is any indication.
In the first-ever evidence on quality of sperm in southern part of India, scientists and researchers at the Division of Reproductive Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal, have found that the quality of human semen evaluated for infertility is deteriorating in the South over the years. This, they attributed to environmental, nutritional, lifestyle or socio-economic causes.
The Manipal group comprising Dr Adiga Satish Kumar, Dr V Jayaraman, Dr G Kalthur, Dr P Kumar and Dr D Upadhya studied a cohort of infertile individuals at a regional level, in terms of the sperm concentration, total sperm motility, sperm morphology and incidence of azoospermia over a period of 13 years. They evaluated as many as 7,770 subjects, who presented for semen analysis since 1993.
The study revealed that the average sperm density among infertile men has come down to 26.61 ± 0.71 millions/millilitre which was significantly lower than the average sperm density observed a decade ago (38.18 ± 1.46 millions/mL).
Similar trend was also observed for sperm motility (47.14 per cent motile sperms vs 61.16 per cent) and normal sperm morphology (19.75 per cent vs 40.51 per cent).
"In particular, the decline in sperm count was 30.31 per cent whereas sperm motility and morphology was reduced by 22.92 per cent and 51.25 per cent, respectively in the last 13 years. Furthermore, the regression analysis also confirmed a true decline in the semen quality over this period," the scientists pointed out in their study.
The baseline sperm concentration and motility for Indian men was reported as 68.22 ± 15.14 millions/mL and 40.95 ± 9.15 per cent respectively and a previous study failed to demonstrate any change in the semen quality among infertile men in the northern part of the India for a period of 11 years.
In contrast, the mean sperm count observed by the Manipal team was 26.61 millions/mL which was much lower than the baseline value of 68.22 millions/mL for Indian men.
"However, there was no significant difference in the motility between two studies, suggesting a definite decline in the sperm concentration in the southern part of the India," they said.
The decline in the semen quality coincides with an increasing incidence of abnormalities of the male genital tract including testicular cancer and cryptorchidism (undescended testis) in various countries. More importantly, the increase in the incidence of sperm morphological abnormalities in addition to low-sperm count observed in this study indicates qualitative impairment of spermatogenesis and perhaps of the Sertoli cells.
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