A recent report aired by a local media house revealed that an estimated 4.2 Million Kenyans may need medical assistance to conceive due to infertility.

Infertility is the inability to conceive despite having engaged in unprotected sex for a year. Experts say that millions of younger Kenyans are suffering from low sperm count.

In this article, we explore some of the known causes of low sperm count.

Environmental factors

Certain environmental factors such as air pollution, use of pesticides and harmful chemicals and exposure to excessive heat affect the production of sperm. Unfortunately, some of these factors are outside human control.

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Overexposure to hot surfaces

Scientists report that exposure to high heat affects the sperm production process and structural abnormalities in sperm which then render an individual infertile.

Further, long exposure of the scrotum to hot surfaces like a motorbike fuel tank can lead to low sperm count. As a result, motorcycle rides and transit drivers run a high risk of low sperm count due to prolonged exposure to heat.


Individuals who spray and consume food products that still contain active pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides are likely to be affected by the accumulation of these components in their bodies. The presence of these chemicals in the body alters the appropriate hormonal functions thus deterring the quality of sperm.

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Exposure to toxins in the environment

Toxins like heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, barium and pollutants in the air, especially in cities have a dire effect on the health of human beings. Such pollutants affect the reproductive system just as well.

Air pollution and the presence of heavy metals in drinking water and soil can result from motor vehicle and factory emissions, fire, household activities and appliances, agriculture, solid waste that has not been disposed appropriately and liquid waste among others.

Lifestyle factors

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Lifestyle factors have a great influence on human health. In men, effects may manifest as erectile dysfunction or low sperm count. Some of the things that one may need to watch while indulging include excessive drinking, smoking, obesity and spending too much time in tight clothing.

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For instance, cigarette smokers are exposed to hazardous substances such as tar, nicotine carbon monoxide, and heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. These hazards affect the sperm structure, life span and sperm formation thus reducing the sperm count.

Alcohol on the other hand interferes with the production of testosterone and other important bodily chemicals. As a result, the production, structural development and maturation of sperm are affected.

What next?

Experts advise that young people be mindful of what they ingest and what they expose themselves to in order to reverse the condition that is now becoming a national disaster.

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