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According to Taiwanese study, air pollution is resulting in abnormally shaped sperm


You might have heard about how men around the globe have experienced a 50% drop in sperm counts as of late, but this isn’t the only problem men are facing when it comes to infertility. Sperm counts aside, an increasing number of men are also grappling with poor sperm quality – and whilst it’s fairly intuitive that diet and exercise regime play a role in influencing sperm quality, recent research shows that air pollution factors into the equation as well.


This new study which was published in the Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal involved 6,475 men in Taiwan between the ages of 15 and 49. Researchers analysed these men’s semen in order to determine if exposure to air pollution would impact their sperm concentration, motility, and the size and shape of their sperm.

The results? Participants who were exposed to air pollution were more likely to have abnormally shaped sperm, with men who experienced prolonged exposure (over two years) having more abnormally shaped sperm than the other participants.


Edward Marut, MD, of Fertility Centers of Illinois, says that the findings make sense: air pollution contains many toxins which are found in cigarette smoke (which is highly destructive to sperm quality), and so it would naturally follow that air pollution would have a similarly detrimental effect on sperm as well.

With Singapore being relatively pollution-free, we’ve got our fingers crossed that our men wouldn’t face too many problems with abnormally shaped sperm due to pollution. That having been said, these results are nevertheless insightful in educating couples who are trying to conceive. Trying to conceive when Singapore is experiencing tons of haze, for example, is probably not going to be a productive activity. For couples who have previously lived overseas in a relatively polluted region (somewhere in China, perhaps?), and are now trying to conceive: you might want to go for a semen analysis – just to make sure everything’s in order!

Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka

If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!

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