The MRC Reproductive Biology unit in Edinburgh is seeking Scottish men aged 20 to 30 to volunteer for a large-scale study of sperm quality. It is hoped that 1000 men will provide sperm samples 'in the comfort of their own homes' and take them to the Post Office. Normally, sperm must be analysed within 60 minutes of a sample being given or it will die, but the study intends to use a preservative chemical which will keep the sperm alive for 48 hours, allowing the unit time to receive and analyse the samples.
The intention of the study is to provide full information about the quality of Scottish sperm, following concerns that sperm counts and sperm quality are declining in the western world. The samples will be submitted along with a questionnaire asking the men about their health and lifestyles. The mothers of the men are also being asked to submit information about their lifestyles while they were pregnant and during the early years of their sons.
Similar surveys will take place every ten years, thus allowing the quality of sperm to be monitored and the true relationship between health, lifestyle and sperm quality to be discovered. Stewart Irvine, head of the research project, believes that the results of this study should be published by the end of 2000.
Sources and References
Male order study seeks the truth about sperm