Humans Could Go Extinct, Thanks to Men
According to research, plummeting sperm counts could result in human annihilation. We asked men how guilty they feel about potentially wiping out the species.
Photo by Studio Firma via Stocksy
Finally, some good news in our fucked-up news cycle: We're heading for the extinction of the human race!
Research published in Human Reproduction Update has found that our species could become extinct if male sperm counts continue to fall at current rates—and that men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are to blame.
Researchers assessed the meta-data of nearly 200 studies into sperm counts from around the world. They found that men from these regions seen their sperm quality deteriorate rapidly in the last 40 years.
Men from these regions saw a 52 percent decline in sperm concentration, and a 59 percent decline in sperm count. By comparison, no similar decline was seen in South America, Asia, or Africa, although it's worth pointing out that fewer studies have been conducted in those parts of the world.
Speaking to the BBC, lead researcher Dr. Hagai Levine expressed alarm that the human race might become extinct if the trend continued. "If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future."
Watch: The History of Birth Control
But how do Western men feel about being responsible for the extinction of the human race? Is it just another thing to add to their list of sins, like police brutality and The Emoji Movie?
There was only one thing to do: ask some heterosexual men from North America and Europe! But where to find them? After much research, I managed to track some down. Only joking—the VICE UK office is full of straight white men! You can't move for them! They've everywhere!
Read more: Why Is Sperm So Damn Expensive?
And there was no awkwardness about me cornering my male coworkers, coffee in hand on a Wednesday morning, to ask about their sperm motility. Everyone was extremely chill and receptive to my journalistic request.
"I think my sperm are perfectly fine thanks," blushes my colleague Harry, pastry and iced coffee in hand. "I don't want to know anything."
"I'm deeply sorry for my role in the imminent extinction of the human race," VICE.com editor Jamie responds. "They're not certain of why sperm counts are decreasing yet, are they? But assuming it has something to do with poor diet, smoking, and a huge lack of exercise I do not feel great about my own sperm count right now in any way."
Later he messaged me to tell me he was googling sperm supplements and "legit having a minor panic."
Many of the men I interviewed for this piece wound up pretty freaked out, which is surprising—I always thought straight white guys were pro-human extinction. Otherwise, why are so many of them also climate change deniers?
"This new finding has put a horrible negative spin on what I regard as the main accomplishment of every one of my lackluster sexual encounters: making sure I haven't knocked up some girl I picked up on Tinder," whines my friend Mike. "Now my failure to impregnate girls has been a droplet in the flood of human extinction. As if the sex wasn't already shit enough."
Most of the men I spoke to were pessimistic about their sperm on account of their terrible lifestyles—which makes sense. Obesity, smoking, stress, diet, and the chemicals in our plastic and pesticides have all been variously cited as to blame for the fact that modern-day man's sperm is as shaky as Jared Kushner's understanding of the Logan Act.
Another thing that might be to blame for your defective spunk is watching too much TV. According to one 2016 study Copenhagen University study, sitting in front of the TV for over five hours a day was associated with lower sperm counts.
"As someone who is not obese, doesn't smoke and doesn't really watch TV, I see myself as an example of the solution, not the cause of the problem," lies my boyfriend Charlie sweetly. (He loves reality TV.) "Hopefully other men will be as enlightened as me in the future and together we can ward off this looming threat."
If this is all too much for you, why not do as my colleague Joel does, and live in sour, cloudy disbelief? "Sperm is hardly a dwindling fucking resource," he blusters. "There is so much sperm in the world at any time. Think how much sperm is in the office right now. And you only need one sperm to make a baby."
"Besides," he goes on, "surely they're working on synthetic sperm by now? If there aren't already plans to cut men out of the reproductive cycle, that's a real oversight."
I couldn't agree with you more.