According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 13 of every 100 couples will have trouble conceiving. When infertility comes to mind many instinctually believe it is due to the female partner. Yet in reality, male factor infertility is found to contribute to approximately half of all infertility cases. There are a number of causes for male infertility that go further than just producing healthy sperm.
Healthy sperm is:
- carried in the semen
- is high enough in quantity
- moves efficiently through the semen
- is naturally ejaculated during intercourse
A number of fertility-related issues men may face are usually not caught until it’s too late. Studies show that as men get older, their sperm quality decreases, which can make conception more difficult. External factors that can affect sperm quality include medications, exposure to chemicals, illnesses, and injuries. Infertility is considered when a couple/individual is unable to conceive after 12 months of naturally trying. Despite the equal statistics of male infertility, it is not as often publicly discussed as female infertility is. Whether a male is trying to conceive with a female partner, trying to conceive with a male partner, trying to conceive alone, or not trying to conceive currently at all, it is important to understand what practices can negatively impact their fertility.
So what can you do to maximize your fertility as a male, even when not actively trying to conceive?
Take Preventative Measures against STDS
It is important to protect yourself and any potential partners from STDs by getting checked and treated anytime you have a new partner. It is important to use protection, like condoms, with all new partners to further minimize the risk. The consequences of an STD can be significantly more serious, even life-threatening, and can lead to issues when trying to conceive.
Limit/Stop Smoking, Drinking, and Drug Use
Smoking, drugs, and drinking in excess are all harmful to your overall health. All three have been known to cause fertility issues in men. Long-term cocaine use in men can lead to lower sperm count, affected mobility of the existing sperm, and more instances of abnormally shaped sperm. Research has also shown that cocaine use damages the structure of the testicles. This damage is only visible via a microscope, but damage to this area can result in irreversible fertility issues.
Be Careful About Toxic Substances
Toxic substances and other harmful materials can be found at work or homes, such as synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and feces, all can hurt the reproductive system. Exposure to even small amounts during infancy, childhood, or puberty can lead to underlying diseases. It is best to be aware of these substances and only store them in safe locations, away from daily activities and areas.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) is important for both men and women when it comes to fertility health. BMI has been directly linked to infertility in both genders and even a small shift in weight can impact a person’s fertility journey. High BMI is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, PCOS in women, and low sperm count in men. Implementing a healthy lifestyle balance between diet, fitness, and mental state is important no matter your age. Starting healthy habits young and keeping them can benefit your natural fertility later in life.
It is important to work with a fertility care team having the experience required to design a customized fertility treatment plan meeting your personal needs. To schedule your initial consultation with the fertility specialists at New Hope Fertility Center call 212-517-7676.