More About Male Fertility/Infertility

When a couple struggles to become pregnant, it is often assumed that the problem lies with the woman. But there are more and more studies out there that show that it is just as likely that the issue can be because of the man as well!
In the most recent study completed by Bunting and Bolvin in the UK, they found that there are many factors that do indeed impact male fertility. They also found that there are many misconceptions among younger people about the causes of male infertility.
In addition to looking at how heat and age impacts sperm production, the study also looked at the effects of infections, drugs, smoking and lifestyle. One finding is that infection earlier in life is a contributor to infertility among men. STDs such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can end up causing obstructions to the tubes that transport the sperm. One way to reverse the damage is with surgery; however it is not always a successful fix. Another infection that impacts fertility is having the mumps. This is especially dangerous to male fertility health if the onset is after puberty. The virus can infect the cells that are responsible for producing sperm. These infected cells can then become damaged beyond repair. Another potential problem is that the mumps virus can actually suspend the production of sperm in a man. Fortunately this is only temporary, lasting only up to a year. Another common infection that causes damage is a bladder infection. The infection can spread from the bladder into the testes, causing long lasting problems.
There are also certain medicines and drugs that Bunting and Bolvin found impact male fertility. To begin with, there are some anti-depressants and sedatives that when taken over time have been shown to cause fertility problems in men. There is also a medicine called Salazopryin that is an anti-inflammatory drug that can lead to the same damaging results. If you are male and taking any prescribed medications and wanting to be a father in the future, you should check with your doctor about the potential fertility related side-effects.
Also impacting male fertility is the use of marijuana and anabolic steroids. They have been found to stop sperm production, change the size of the testes and lower the levels of testosterone. Not only that, they impact a man’s sex drive as well. All of these problems definitely get in the way of becoming pregnant!
The last factor that this study looked at was a man’s overall lifestyle. In a nutshell they found:
1.      Men who smoke have more abnormal/damaged sperm and produce 20 percent less sperm when compared to their non-smoking counterparts.
2.      Heat does negatively impact sperm production, so stay out of those hot tubs!
3.      Men need to be careful around toxic substances such as pesticides, metals and radiation. All have been shown to damage sperm.
4.      Men need to be healthy. When men are overweight they tend to struggle with fertility and have lower sperm counts than then men who are fit.
So as you can see, there are many factors that impact male fertility and many ways in which men can preserve their “fertile self”!


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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.