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Experts Can't Agree Whether 'Spermageddon' Is Real, But We Agree It's Terrifying

It seems like everyone these days is having a baby. But what if our species' ability to give birth to new humans was one day taken away from us?

That doesn't seem like a likely possibility, yet the term "Spermageddon" has popped up over the last couple of years. What could be causing this phenomenon to enter our vocabulary?

Could we be headed for a "Spermageddon"?

Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

According to IFL Science, a study conducted in 2017 shows that "the average total sperm concentration among men from 'Western' countries has decreased by almost 60 percent since 1973."

What's alarming about this is the idea that humans could one day stop producing sperm.

What would this mean?

The trends from the 2017 analysis concluded that, as per the trends, the Western world could see average sperm counts of 0 by the year 2045!

That would mean that countless people would suddenly become infertile, which would be alarming for the human population.

But why would this happen?

One conclusion from the study is that sperm counts could be negatively impacted by the use of phthalates, a group of chemicals used in pretty much everything we use.

This, of course, isn't conclusive, and there is still research to be done.

Is that really the problem?

There's been some debate as to whether or not these findings point to what's really going on. Researchers from various universities recently took another look at the 2017 findings.

Their research on this study gave them new ideas on what might be going on.

What is the optimal sperm count?

These researchers debated on what the optimal sperm count could be, as well as whether or not this number is consistent between regions.

A "low" sperm count would be anything under 15 million sperm for milliliter of sperm, (which still sounds like a lot!). Whether or not this has an impact on fertility is unclear.

Sperm count can vary, too.

Depending on external conditions, like the time of year, whether a person is wearing tight pants, or if they've recently taken a hot bath, can affect an individual's sperm count. So there isn't really a single right answer here.

There could also be issues with the data collected in the '70s.

The researchers argued that the sperm count data collected in the 1970s may have been inaccurate. They could have miscounted sperm samples, for instance.

Sperm counts seemingly decreased as tests became more accurate over the years. That could really mess with results.

The samples from the '70s may have been too skewed, as well.

Unsplash | Andrew Stutesman

The data from the '70s centered around people from Western countries (in this case, English-speaking countries). This would mean that people of different nations and backgrounds aren't represented.

So where does that leave us?

Well, we probably won't know for quite some time whether or not "Spermageddon" is bound to happen. Some researchers believe it's a definite possibility, while others just aren't sure. And thanks to the data, it's really hard to tell.

One thing is for sure, though.

Look, the idea of a "Spermageddon" is really scary. Imagine society not being able to have kids. That sounds like the setup to a dystopian story...

But either way, it probably won't happen. Right?

h/t to IFL Science.