Fertility rates steadily declined from the mids through to the turn of the century in the EU member states, according to figures provided by Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency. In , the total fertility rate in the current member bloc was 1. The level is below a fertility rate of around 2. In response to the grim numbers, sperm banks across Europe are calling on the EU to make changes to its current regulations in order to increase birth rates and halt the population slump. According to the minutes of a meeting between European Commission officials and the world's largest sperm bank Cryos International, "population growth in the EU has slowed down and that it is a priority that the rate of childbirth be increased. According to Cryos International, "the demand for donor sperm has increased by around percent over recent years, but only 10 percent of those who need access to medical treatment with donated gametes are receiving it.
World's biggest sperm bank urges easier access to donor sperm to boost European population
Inside one of the world's largest sperm banks - CNN
The logic behind this quirk of evolution is explained in a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. According to the study, the fact that smaller organisms tend to have the largest sperm corroborates the long standing sperm dilution hypothesis. This theory holds that, as the size of a species increases, so does the size of the female reproductive tract. Consequently, it becomes increasingly beneficial for males to generate larger numbers of small sperm, since this provides the best possible chance of one of them beating the others to the egg and fertilizing it. In other words, females are able to mate with multiple partners within a short space of time in order to improve their chances of becoming pregnant.
The largest, and smallest, sex cells on the planet
It looks like any other office, but inside, it's among the world's largest sperm banks. Laerke Posselt is a photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is represented by Agence Vu. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
If there was a prize for biggest sperm in nature, it would go to Drosophila bifurca , a tiny fruit fly whose coiled sperm would measure more than 2 inches long if straightened out. Along with Syracuse University biologist Scott Pitnick, Bjork examined why any animal, let alone a tiny fruit fly, would evolve such lengthy sperm. The pair's findings, detailed in the June 8 issue of the journal Nature , show that the answer lies in the body of the female fruit flies.