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Volume 25, Issue 2 (March 2023) 25, 252–258; 10.4103/aja202239

Will male semen quality improve with environmental quality?

Xu-Chao Dai1, Meng-Qi Zhang1, Gang Chen1, Kun Mei2, Yan-Long Liu3, Hong Huang4,5, Zhi-Gang Wu6,7

1 School of Public Health and Management, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, China
2 School of Geography Science and Geomatics Engineering, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, Suzhou 215009, China
3 School of Mental Health, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, China
4 Research Center for Healthy China, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, China
5 Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Watershed Sciences and Health, Wenzhou 325035, China
6 Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China
7 Reproductive Health Research Center, Health Assessment Center of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China

Correspondence: Dr. H Huang (huanghongpanda@163.com) or Dr. ZG Wu (andrologywzg@wmu.edu.cn)

Received: 06 February 2022; Accepted: 16 May 2022; published online: 15 July 2022


Wenzhou has improved its environmental quality because of comprehensive environmental remediation; nevertheless, the semen quality of infertile males remains unclear. This study determined whether better environmental quality improved semen quality in this region. We recorded semen quality data from 22 962 infertile males from January 2014 to November 2019 at the Center for Reproductive Health of The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University (Wenzhou, China). Patients were predominantly 30–35 years old (33.1%) and workers (82.0%), with high school education or lower (77.6%); more than a half of the patients (52.6%) were Wenzhou household registration; and most patients (77.5%) had abnormal semen quality. Patients who were older than 40 years and workers, and those with Wenzhou household registration, had significantly worse semen quality (all P < 0.05). From 2014 to 2019, progressive sperm motility, total sperm motility, and semen volume showed increasing linear trends in all patients (P = 0.021, 0.030, and 0.005, respectively), yet normal sperm morphology showed a linearly decreasing trend (P = 0.046). Sensitivity analyses for subgroups yielded similar results. In conclusion, the improvement of environmental quality and better function of the accessory glands are associated with progressive sperm motility, total sperm motility, and semen volume. Normal sperm morphology is influenced by occupational exposures and personal lifestyle and does not improve with environmental quality.

Keywords: environmental quality; male infertility; semen quality; time trend

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.