The Oxford journal Human Reproduction has recently witnessed the publication of a new study stating that, when compared to their forefathers, the men now living in France are about 30% less fertile.
This basically means that their ability to father children has been considerably reduced, and most specialists agree that the chemical compounds present in their surroundings, the poor dietary habits and a lifestyle that does not involve a lot of physical exercise are the ones to blame.
“Something in our modern lifestyle, diet or environment like chemical exposure, is causing this,” professor Richard Sharpe from the University of Edinburgh says.
He goes on to argue that, “We still do not know which are the most important factors, but perhaps the most likely is a combination, a double whammy of changes, such as a high-fat diet combined with increased environmental chemical exposures.”
The specialists who looked into this issue explain that, between the years 1989 and 2005, the total number of gametes produced by the average French male dropped by 1.9% on a yearly basis.
More precisely, male gametes concentrations plummeted from 73.6 million per milliliter to 49.9 million per milliliter, France24 reports.
Although these figures fall within the normal limits established by the World Health Organization, this does not change the fact that, should things continue to unfold in this manner, things stand to only get worse and infertility could be just around the corner.
Naturally, this raises significant concerns with respect to public health and the future of this country's demographic profile.
Thus, despite governmental efforts to encourage women in this country to have children by offering them generous maternity leaves and financially helping them with childcare, France might witness a nationwide drop in the number of childbirths.
This particular study examined the fertility of 26,600 French men aged 17-80, and took place over several years.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study concluding a severe and general decrease in sperm concentration and morphology at the scale of a whole country over a substantial period,” Dr Joelle Le Moal explained.