Fertility Check for Men

What could be wrong with him?

It has always been a popular belief that a man can easily father a child.

Fertility issues had always been the woman’s burden, until recently.

Unknown to many, there are lots of  factors affecting the fertility of men. Many of which they can control.

What could be wrong with him?

Smoking affects fertility. A study in the University of South Carolina found out that smokers’ sperm count are 13%-17% lower than non-smokers suggesting that toxic chemicals in cigarettes are to blame. Though this effect is reversible, it may take two-three months before the sperm count goes back to normal. Smokers have also been noted to have more sperm abnormalities and may have mutagenic effects on the fertilized egg.

Chronic alcohol abuse can hamper your fertility. Why? Alcohol in itself is a sperm-killing toxin. It can raise the level of estrogen in male bodies which may impede hormones and sperm development. When taken excessively, it can cause testicular atrophy and can eventually lead to a significant drop in sperm count and decrease in libido. Alcoholics are also noted to have abnormal sperm size, shape and sperm tail. Too much alcohol can also cause impotence and liver damage.

Both prescription and recreational drugs have an impact on your fertility. Prescribed drugs such as steroids, high blood pressure medications and antidepressants can cause low sperm count, low semen volume, low levels of sperm motility and poor sperm DNA structure. Same goes for recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy.

Excessive and intense exercising can also take its toll on your fertility. Exercising produces too much adrenal steroid hormones that can decrease your testosterone level and can lead to infertility.

Bicycling will have an effect on your testes. This stems from the pressure on the groin area while sitting on the bike seat. The testes when subjected to such pressure  for long periods of time can restrict blood flow which may cause nerve damage, tissue compaction, and lower sperm cell counts.

Hot baths and tight pants may reduce your fertility. There had been studies showing conflicting conclusion about the effect of tight pants and knickers to men’s sperm count. Some studies concluded that the testes are very sensitive to heat. Some have concluded that the testes can regulate its temperature. When it’s warm, they will move further away from each other to cool down. If it gets too cold, they will move up towards the body to warm up. If you’re not comfortable with your testicles hanging loose, you can always opt for tight knickers. Or if you’re not with happy with tight underwear, you can always wear boxers.

Just remember that the optimum temperature for sperm production is from 35-36 degrees. Be wary of hot baths or saunas which could reach up to 43 degrees and prolonged exposure to higher temperature can greatly affect sperm production and sperm quality.  The effect, though, can be reversed by non-exposure to hot baths in a few months.

Poor diet can also contribute to sterility. Vitamin C deficiency can cause sperms to stick together (agglutination) and when this happens, fertility declines.

Studies have also shown that males with higher Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin E and Amino Acids(L-Carnitine and Arginine)have increased sperm count, motility and have healthier swimmers.

Exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, radioactive substances, lead, paint and mercury can contribute to lower fertility rate in men. How does this happen? A study done from Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology from Brunel University in London had a report suggesting that chemicals like pesticides can act as environmental estrogens thereby confusing the estrogen receptors of the body. Too much perceived estrogen can contribute to low sperm production and poor sperm quality.

Although all these can be controlled, there are still a few uncontrollable fertility issues that men have to contend with:

Age. As men get older, sperm motility decreases. In an issue of the American Journal of Gynecology (2004), researchers have concluded that, just like with women, the chances of fathering  a kid declines as the years pass by. In that study, the percentage of pregnancy decreased by 11% every year, and so did the rate of successful live birth. Babies fathered by older men have higher chances of genetic abnormalities due to poor DNA quality.

Medical conditions. Twenty-five percent of young men who contracted Mumps after puberty can also contract Orchitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of one or both testes. The affected testis becomes tender and painful for a period of two to four days and may result to shrinkage. This can cause congestion of the blood vessels in the testis and may  obstruct the blood flow. Though very rare, this can lead to sterility in men.

Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Cancer and sterility.  Scientists have discovered that men with such conditions have poorer sperm production and sperm quality. Their sperm cells show to have increased DNA damage compared to men not affected with such diseases.

In some studies, the sperm cells of diabetics may do a retrogade ejaculation wherein the semen goes to the bladder and the sperm cells never reach the female reproductive system.

Drugs used for chemotherapy, specially when given in higher dosage, can hamper or completely stop the production of sperms  in the body. If production has not recovered in 4 years, it is less likely to recover.

Which one of us is the best swimmer?

If you are planning to have kids of your own, it would be helpful to know which risk factors you can avoid. If you have any medical conditions you think may affect your fertility, it’s the best time to consult a doctor.







  • http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/age-raises-infertility-risk-in-men-too
  • http://www.babycenter.com/0_common-causes-of-fertility-problems-in-men_1228908.bc
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/69779.php
  • http://www.diabeticcareservices.com/diabetes-education/diabetes-and-infertility
  • http://www.stanford.edu/class/siw198q/websites/reprotech/New%20Ways%20of%20Making%20Babies/causemal.htm
  • http://www.chem-tox.com/infertility/
  • http://health.ninemsn.com.au/whatsgoodforyou/theshow/694043/does-wearing-tight-jeans-make-men-infertile
  • http://www.ehow.com/about_6674081_cycling-male fertility.html#ixzz1t16ww4Om
  • http://truestarhealth.com/Notes/1040005.html
  • http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.794/healthissue_detail.asp
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