Decline in semen quality among 30,636 young Chinese men from 2001 to 2015

This retrospective study found that the semen quality of young Chinese men, particularly the sperm concentration, total sperm count, sperm progressive motility, and normal morphology, has been declining from 2001 to 2015.

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Volume 107, Issue 1, Pages 83-88


Chuan Huang, Ph.D., Baishun Li, B.S., Kongrong Xu, M.S., Dan Liu, M.S., Jing Hu, M.S., Yang Yang, B.S., HongChuan Nie, M.D., Ph.D., Liqing Fan, M.D., Ph.D., Wenbing Zhu, M.D., Ph.D.



To provide information of semen quality among young Chinese men in the past 15 years.


Retrospective cross-sectional study.


Sperm bank.


A total of 30,636 young adult men who applied to be sperm donors at the Hunan Province Human Sperm Bank of China in 2001–2015 were included in the study.


Physical examination and analysis of blood and semen samples.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Semen parameters, such as semen volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, progressively motile sperm count, sperm progressive motility, sperm morphology, and round cells.


Many of the semen parameters showed a decreasing trend over the 15-year observation period. The sperm concentration and percentage of sperm with normal morphology decreased from 68 × 106/mL to 47 × 106/mL and from 31.8% to 10.8%, respectively. Although sperm progressive motility showed irregular variation, the progressively motile sperm count decreased from 34 × 106 to 21 × 106 over the 15-year period. Furthermore, the rate of qualified donors fell from 55.78% in 2001 to 17.80% in 2015, and the rate for 2015 was approximately threefold lower than the corresponding rates in 2001.


The semen quality among young Chinese men has declined over a period of 15 years, especially in terms of sperm concentration, total sperm count, sperm progressive motility, and normal morphology.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.