There was something wrong, very wrong, with Israeli testicles. A few years ago, an army major named Hagai Levine began to be concerned.
Levine, at that time the chief epidemiologist for the Israel Defense Forces, already knew these symptoms weren’t found only in Israel. A similar pattern of decline in male reproductive health — more germ-cell cancers, more undescended testicles, more genital malformations — had been identified elsewhere.
But if this was evidence of a mass unmanning, one could also find some reasons not to flinch. Sperm counts (and concentrations) have at best a weak relationship to male fertility, and even as things stand for Western men today, according to the research — with an average and deflated concentration of 47 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate — we’re not yet in the ballpark of a [reproductive crash.]
…[S]till we haven’t figured out its cause: technology or climate change; pesticides or plastics (this was the GQ theory); overeating or overmedication; too much masturbation or insufficient exercise. It may be that all these factors have caused sperm counts to drop, or some of them, or none. The resulting danger to humanity could be cataclysmic, or it could be a trifle.
…[A]mbiguity about the sperm decline has only amplified its terror and underscored its implications: The world is changing, and we don’t know how; masculinity is under threat from forces we can’t explain.
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