Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Low on Swimmers? Check Your AGD

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 5:00 PM

When it comes to male fertility, it turns out that size does matter.

The dimension in question is not penis or testicle size, but a measurement known as anogenital distance, or AGD.
Turns out if you're a guy low on swimmers, you know, saddled with the guilt of a low sperm count, you don't have to pay a fertility clinic to confirm, just get out a ruler.

Have you ever heard about a measurement known as anogenital distance (AGD)? Well, not to step on Dan Savage's toes, but AGD is the length between the anus and the underside of the scrotum.

According to a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, those with a "small" distance are more likely to have fertility issues, while those with a "greater" distance can easily procreate the entire planet.

Most interesting takeaway from the Reuters story is the possible cause of short AGD:

The study did not address what might cause certain men to have short AGD measurements.

But previous studies, published in 2005 and 2008, looked at the possible link between mothers who were exposed to chemicals called phthalates during pregnancy and the AGD of their infant and toddler sons.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in industrial and personal care products, including fragrances, shampoos, soaps, plastics, paints and some pesticides.

In these earlier studies, the scientists tested for the presence of phthalates in the pregnant women's urine. They found that women who had high levels of phthalates in their urine during pregnancy gave birth to sons who were 10 times more likely to have shorter than expected AGDs.

Swan, who also co-authored the earlier papers, said they showed the correlation between prenatal phthalate exposure and shorter AGD.

The latest study does not address prenatal phthalate exposure directly, "but it does answer the question of why we should care about AGD," Swan said. "And it does suggest that whatever is altering AGD is also altering sperm count."

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