12.08.12 9:45 AM ET
French Sperm Counts Decline: Fertility by the Numbers
200 million—The number of sperm cells contained in the average male ejaculation.
39 million—The minimum total sperm count that is considered normal.
50 million—The number of sperm cells per milliliter of the average Frenchman’s semen in 2005. In 1989, the average was 74 million.
66 to 76 million—It’s not just the French. Over the past 50 years, sperm concentrations have fallen around the world, to between 66 and 76 million sperm per milliliter from an average of 113 million.
1 billion—The number of sperm cells a rhesus monkey releases per milliliter of semen.
50—Don’t tell Hugh Hefner. This is the age at which sperm movement and the number of healthy sperm begin to decline, harming a man’s fertility.
40—The percentage of your sperm that must be moving in order for a man to be considered fertile.
40 percent—Time to go on a diet. One study found that men who eat a diet high in saturated fats have more than 40 percent lower sperm count than men who eat more healthily.
7—The testicles are about 7 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the body, because this is the optimal temperature to produce sperm. But beware: crossing your legs or wearing briefs can increase scrotal temperature by 2 degrees, making for less than optimal production conditions.
6 miles—The length that all the sperm in one ejaculate would stretch if a man could convince them to line up end to end.
5—The number of days that sperm can survive after being exiled to a woman’s body.
4—Biking isn’t the answer. One study found that only 4 percent of Ironman triathletes’ sperm was shaped normally. If one wishes to become a father, one needs at least 30 percent normally shaped sperm. The researchers theorized that sitting on a bike seat and wearing tight cycling shorts were likely to blame.
2—The number of alcoholic drinks per day that doctors say men can consume without damaging their sperm.
2 months—The amount of time it takes to produce one sperm cell.
1—All the testicles you need to keep generating sperm. A testicle that finds itself without a neighbor will often grow to boost sperm output.
0.5 teaspoons—The amount a man typically ejaculates.