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Can Crotch Length Predict Sperm Strength?
Date:3/4/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- New research contends that the distance between the posterior base of the scrotum and the anus can predict the strength of a man's sperm population.

Men who have a shorter perineal length, also known as the anogenital distance (AGD), have lower sperm counts, poorer quality sperm, lower sperm concentrations and lower motility, the study has found.

Although scientists had long ago made the connection between AGD and fertility in male rats, this is the first time it's been shown in humans, said the researchers, whose findings are published in the March 4 edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

In rats, the same group of researchers established that shorter AGD and male reproductive problems were linked to exposure in the womb to a class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, which are used to make plastics more flexible and are found in many toys and other household products.

Phthalates disrupt normal testosterone exposure in the womb, among other things, and have been linked to fertility problems in women and abnormal breast growth in boys.

The new study did not examine phthalate exposure in the subjects or their mothers, but by making a connection between shorter AGD length (linked in male rats to exposure to phthalates) and lower sperm counts, it does provide indirect evidence that exposure to such chemicals may result in lower sperm counts in adult men, according to the authors.

The researchers took two measures of AGD, along with sperm count and concentrations, sperm shape and sperm motility, in 126 college students in upstate New York.

The first measure was from the underside of the scrotum to the anus and the second was from the top of the penis stem to the anus.

The shorter measurement -- starting at the underside of the scrotum -- was associated with sperm c
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