Infertility is an uncomfortable topic, and many times women take on the burden. But a new study shows sperm counts in men in the Western world are plunging.
The Landis family experienced the truth of this study firsthand when they discovered male infertility was holding them back from having a child.
"It was really difficult. It was embarrassing, kind of, because I felt like something was wrong with me but at the same time I couldn't control it. It wasn't anything I did," Matt Landis said.
It turns out Matt isn't alone in his battle with male infertility. A new study looked at more than 43,000 men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. From 1973 to 2011 researchers found a 52-percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59-percent decline in total sperm count.
"I think when you see things happening across whole populations you have to look at things like environmental exposures, dietary exposures, smoking, marijuana use," said Dr. Meredith Provost, a fertility specialist with the Indiana Fertility Institute.
The study didn't say why sperm counts were drastically decreasing in men, however, Provost says it should be a wake-up call for men to get a semen analysis--something Matt says he wish he would've done sooner.
The couple now has a 6-week-old baby thanks to help from IVF. The Landis family is talking about their journey in hopes of bringing comfort to a topic most men aren't willing to talk about.
"Don't give up hope. Your journey doesn't always map out the way you hope it would, but you can always still get to the destination you're looking for," Taylor Landis said.
Low sperm count doesn't automatically mean infertility. Provost says she hopes this information leads to more research to pinpoint a cause of declining sperm counts in men. If your family is experiencing infertility, she says both partners should get checked out.