Sperm concentration in Latvian military conscripts as compared with other countries in the Nordic-Baltic area

Igor Tsarev, Valerij Gagonin, Aleksander Giwercman, Juris Erenpreiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


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 × 106/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 × 106/mL; 95% CI: -10, 16 × 106/mL), and statistically significantly higher that in Denmark (mean difference: 17 × 106/mL; 95% CI: 5, 2 × 106/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 × 106/mL), compared with men with both parents born outside Latvia (55 ± 45 × 106/mL, p = 0.03).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Environment
  • Ethnic factors
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Semen quality

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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