Declining sperm counts and the increasing average age of first-time parents spell trouble for human fertility, especially when set against the backdrop of ageing populations. EMBO reports advance online publication April; doi We all exist because of our parent's fertility; yet in the grand scheme of evolution, fertility is a crucial selection factor that has determined the future of our own and many other species.
Recently, scientists found that even modest consumption of soya products, such as meat and dairy substitutes and bean curd, can have a significant impact on sperm count. Men who ate an average of half a serving of soya food a day had lower concentrations of sperm than those who did not. New research from Queen's University Belfast confirmed that diabetes is a threat to male fertility. And it seems that a man's job could be undermining his chances of conceiving. Research carried out a number of years ago found that men who worked as painters, decorators and printers are much more likely to have a low sperm count compared to other male professionals, due to their repeated exposure to organic solvents, such as paint thinner and turpentine.