The average Frenchman’s sperm count declined by approximately 1/3 between the years 1989 and 2005, according to a new study by the journal Human Reproduction.
According to the BBC: “The number of millions of spermatozoa per millilitre fell by 32.3%, a rate of about 1.9% a year. And the percentage of normally shaped sperm fell by 33.4%.”
One of the authors of the study described the unprecedented nature of a “severe and general decrease in sperm concentration and morphology at the scale of a whole country.”
Researchers quoted by the BBC were unsure of the causes for this French phenomenon, though diet, environmental pollution, and smoking were cited as probable factors.
France was governed between 1989 and 2005 by Presidents Francois Mitterand, Jacques Chirac, and Nicolas Sarkozy. Though Gerard Depardieu received an Oscar nomination for Cyrano de Bergerac in 1990, French male accomplishments during the studied period were relatively scarce.
Zinedine Zidane’s manly headbutting of a World Cup soccer opponent did not occur until 2006, outside of the range of the study.