Semen quality and sex hormones among organic and traditional Danish farmers. ASCLEPIOS Study Group.
OBJECTIVES: To confirm or refute the hypothesis that organic farmers have higher sperm concentrations than traditional farmers. METHODS: Traditional and organic farmers were selected randomly from central registers, and 171 traditional farmers and 85 organic farmers delivered one semen sample before the start of the spraying season. The participation rate was 28.8% among traditional farmers and 42.9% among organic farmers. RESULTS: The median sperm concentration for traditional and organic farmers was 58 million/ml and 64 million/ml, respectively. After adjustment for several confounders, sperm concentration, total count, proportion of non-vital spermatozoa, sperm chromatin structure, and motility variables did not differ significantly between the two groups. The traditional farmers had a significantly lower proportion of normal spermatozoa, but this result was not confirmed in a second sample. Organic farmers had slightly higher inhibin B concentration and testosterone/sex hormone binding globulin ratio. CONCLUSION: Despite slight differences in concentrations of reproductive hormones, no significant differences in conventional measures of semen quality were found between organic and traditional farmers.