Recent studies of semen quality in men from the general population gave rise to the hypothesis of an East-West gradient in semen quality in the Nordic-Baltic area, with the highest sperm counts in Estonia, Lithuania and Finland, and the lowest in Denmark (30% difference in mean concentration). Genetic, lifestyle-related and environmental factors - alone or in combination - were suggested to be responsible for these differences. The aim of this study was to assess sperm concentration in men from the general population in Latvia and to investigate the impact of ethnic and lifestyle-related factors on this marker of male reproductive health. A total of 133 military conscripts from Latvia were investigated. We found that sperm counts among Latvian adolescents were at the same level (mean 74, median 63 x 10(6)/mL) as those previously reported from Estonia, Lithuania and Finland. Sperm concentration was somewhat higher than in Sweden without reaching the level of statistical significance (mean difference 3 x 10(6)/mL; 95% CI: -10, 16 x 10(6)/mL), and statistically significantly higher that in Denmark (mean difference: 17 x 10(6)/mL; 95% CI: 5, 2 x 10(6)/mL). The study also revealed an impact of ethnic factors on sperm numbers. Sperm concentration was significantly higher in men with both parents born in Latvia (77 +/- 60 x 10(6)/mL), compared with men with both parents born outside Latvia (55 +/- 45 x 10(6)/mL, p = 0.03).
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
- semen quality
- lifestyle factors
- ethnic factors