"This is a public health concern," said Dr. Ashley Tiegs, lead researcher on the seed study.
She spoke to the Daily Mail over the weekend about the results, which are set to be presented Monday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Denver.
Her team analyzed samples from fertility centers in the US and Spain between 2002 and 2017.
"Total motile sperm count has shown to be more productive of outcomes for pregnancy," Tiegs explained. "It's also been correlated with embryo development and expansion routes. We wanted to know if total motile sperm count was affected and if it is declining, then what are the implications?"
Tiegs' team not only found that the number of men seeking treatment increased from 8,000 to 60,000 during the time frame, but sperm counts also dropped as well.
In addition, the rate of male-related IVF cases has risen - and is expected to get even higher.
"We weren't expecting to find that, that the trend of sperm count declining has real treatment implications," Tiegs said.
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