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NZ chaps' sperm not quite up to scratch

'Worrying' decline in protokids per millilitre

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The "quality" of New Zealand chaps' ejaculate has halved since 1987, with testicular output crashing from 110m sperm per millilitre to 50m, The Australian reports.

The worrying news was presented today to a fecund* of international fertility researchers in Brisbane. The figures come from a shufti at the "sperm quality data" of anonymous sperm donors, and represent the relegation of NZ man juice from "very good" to merely "good".

Lead researcher Dr John Peek of Auckland's Fertility Associates said: "It's rather dramatic indeed, and one of the largest seen in studies in other parts of the world."

So dramatic, in fact, that Peek suggested that if the crash continued towards the 20 million sperm per millilitre "danger mark", New Zealand would "definitely be running into trouble".

The reasons for the spunk crisis are unclear, although Peek offered one theory which suggests "environmental toxins, diet and modern changes in lifestyle" are to blame.

Professor Michael Chapman of Sydney-based IVF Australia, described the trend was "worrying" and stressed it was unlikely to be "random chance". He suggested: "Maybe they have something else going on over the Tasman."

While The Australian notes that men in Australia and the United States are still firing fully live rounds, and "studies from Scotland and France show marginal declines", Professor Rob McLachlan, of Andrology Australia in Melbourne, said "any trend was likely to be global".

He explained: "Global trends are differing so we don't have a clear picture on this yet." Being an Aussie, McLachlan felt compelled to conclude by quipping: "New Zealand is unlikely to have a different situation unless you consider all the fertile New Zealand men may be heading over here."

The shock sperm findings are published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. ®

Bootnote

*Trust us - that's the proper collective noun for fertility researchers.

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