Fertility problems affect millions of people, including both men and women. If you are a man suffering from infertility or if you’re hoping to start a family in the future, there are several aspects of fertility you may not be aware of. The following are five myths about male infertility every man should know.
1. Fertility Is Usually a Female Issue
Since a woman is the center of the conception process, it is sometimes mistakenly assumed that any problems are related to the female reproductive system. But there are several aspects of fertility that can go wrong with a man as well. According to the Mayo Clinic
, not only do you need to have healthy sperm but you also need to produce an adequate amount, they must be transported through delicate tubes and they have to ultimately move quickly enough to penetrate a woman’s egg. This is a somewhat complicated process where several problems can occur. There are also medical issues and illnesses that can affect a man’s ability to father a child.
2. Age Is Not a Factor in Male Fertility
While the news coverage regarding celebrities fathering children later in life is becoming more frequent, age can still play a role in male fertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine
states that while there is no official age limit to how old a man can be to father a child, sperm quality does deteriorate as a man ages. The shape and movement of sperm normally declines as you continue to age. While there isn’t an exact age of decline, it is generally believed that sperm quality and mobility will have decreased significantly by age 55.
3. Only Illegal Drugs Affect Fertility
While it’s obvious that illegal drugs are detrimental to overall health and can affect the fertility of both men and women, there are also several types of prescription drugs that can adversely affect a man’s fertility. A variety of medications can lower sperm count and even contribute to erectile dysfunction. Specific drugs that can lower sperm count include blood pressure medications, epilepsy drugs, antidepressants and anti-fungal drugs. It’s important to pay particular attention to anabolic steroids and testosterone drugs. While you may be taking steroids to improve strength and virility, these drugs can actually leave some men permanently sterile.
4. Cell Phones and Laptops Don’t Affect Fertility
Many men stick their phones in their pockets without realizing the potential health implications. Unfortunately, the radiation from cell phones may damage the quality of sperm. Cell phone exposure could also impact the ability of sperm to normally move toward an egg. The Cleveland Clinic recommends keeping cell phones as far from your testicles as possible. You should also keep laptops, which generate heat, directly off your lap. Since the testicles tend to be somewhat cooler than the rest of the body, exposure to sustained heat may damage or even kill sperm. Once damaged, it can take several months for your sperm counts to recover.
5. Fertility Is Not Affected by Diet and Weight
According to eatright.org
, diet is just as crucial for a man as it is for a woman. A diet that promotes general good health, including lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, should be followed when trying to conceive. You should maintain a moderate exercise routine along with a healthy diet. Exercise on four or five days each week for approximately 30 minutes would be considered moderate. Too much exercise can also have a negative effect by decreasing testosterone, which can ultimately lower your sperm count. Finally, maintaining a normal weight will give you the optimum chance of conceiving.
Taking simple preventative measures can go a long way to maintaining your fertility. If you’re currently suffering from infertility, even a few basic lifestyle changes may improve your fertility enough that you’re able to conceive.