(The) quality of Israeli sperm is falling at an alarming rate, and no one’s sure exactly why.
Fertility is a major issue in Israel, where memories of the Holocaust genocide are fresh, and having children is an entrenched part of Judaism. There’s also a political aspect, because birthrates among Arabs in Israel have at times been as much as double those of Jews, triggering a population race that some believe could one day affect who controls the land.
…The white-coated director of the Hadassah Sperm Bank, Ruth Har-Nir, hunches over a microscope to view a freshly donated specimen and begins to methodically count each squiggly swimmer magnified on the slide.
… After a quick scan, she sits up straight and shakes her head. The number of spermatozoa darting around each tiny grid on the slide is two to four, well below the minimum six required, and nowhere near the 10 to 20 per grid that indicates the kind of healthy concentration the bank likes to see.
Also, rather than surging forward, some of the little guys flit left and right or just stall out, suggesting a weak motility.
“Under no circumstances can we accept sperm of this quality,” she says.
No, it’s not Monty Python. Just the kind of black comedy gold that ensues when a nation fights a “demographic time bomb”