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Fertility breakthrough: scientists discover how sperm and egg bind
Sperm-hunting women prowl Zimbabwe highways
Pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals, diet, stress, smoking and obesity have all been suggested as possible reasons behind the dramatic declines but experts say more research is urgently needed. The same trend was not seen in other parts of the world such as South America, Africa and Asia, although the scientists said fewer studies had been carried out there. Sperm concentration fell by Chemicals linked to lowering sperm count include some used to make plastics more flexible and flame retardants used in furniture. A diet high in alcohol, caffeine, processed meat, soy and potatoes may also have an adverse effect on male fertility. Aside from the obvious implications for reproduction, the researchers said the declines were consistent with reported trends in testicular cancer, the number of children born with one or both testicles missing, the onset of male puberty and total testosterone levels. They called for urgent work to find out the reasons behind the decline, noting a few possible candidates.
German carpenter invents on-off contraception switch for sperm
These are external links and will open in a new window. A "ground-breaking" trial of a new form of male contraception which uses a gel to stop sperm flow is to be carried out on couples in Edinburgh. Researchers are looking for volunteers to take part in tests using a body gel as the sole method of birth control. Men will apply it daily to their upper arms and shoulders and attend clinics to monitor their sperm count. The research team at the University of Edinburgh hope couples in long-term relationships could eventually use the gel as an alternative to the female contraceptive pill.
That's so heartbreaking. That's what keeps Sharon Murphy awake. His illness inspired Walsh's Oscar-winning song 'Into the West'.