Australian National News

Men on the road to extinction

By JENNY HOPE in London
The Australian
03nov01

MEN could be in danger of extinction because of the threat posed by sperm banks, fertility treatment and human cloning, say doctors.

Men have higher rates for all 15 leading causes of death and their life expectancy is about seven years shorter than women's.

Most importantly, in developed countries, women can carry out jobs that were once the preserve of males and, in some cases, do them better, says Professor Siegfried Meryn, president of the first World Congress on Men's Health.

He claims traditional attitudes about the role of men in societies could lead to their demise.

There is a sustained increase in psycho-social disorders in men, including alcohol and substance abuse, mid-life crisis, depression, and domestic violence.

Men's increasing aggression also remains an unsolved health and societal problem.

More than 30 wars and conflicts rage around the world, mostly created, maintained and aggravated by men. Professor Meryn, of the University of Vienna, writes in an editorial in the British Medical Journal that men's life expectancy could worsen compared with women.

There is speculation about the continued existence of the gender.

He says: "Despite having had most of the social determinants of health in their favour, men have higher mortality rates for all leading causes of deaths and a life expectancy about seven years shorter than women's."

Men's reluctance to embrace preventive strategies also has contributed to the spread of AIDS, particularly in Africa, and to an alarming rise in infections among young men, including dangerous sexually-transmitted diseases.

With the advent of sperm banks, in-vitro fertilisation, sex sorting techniques, human cloning, and same-sex marriages, it is reasonable to wonder about the future role of men in society.

This report appears on news.com.au.

  News Limited 2001