Most often, society’s attention on conception and pregnancy is focused on women. The pregnancy occurs in her body, so it makes sense that most people would assume conception is (almost) all about the woman. They would be wrong. It takes two to make a baby, so male fertility is just as important. Here are three things every couple should know about male infertility:
1. Your health habits can impact your fertility.
A man’s diet and health matter when it comes to his fertility.
Some health habits to watch out for include:
- Smoking: Smoking negatively affects sperm counts, sperm shape, and sperm movement—all important factors for conception. Smoking is also connected to erectile dysfunction, so dropping the habit may reverse some of its negative effects.
- Weight: Being over or underweight can have a negative effect on semen health. Men with a BMI below 20 have been found to have lower sperm concentration and sperm counts, while obese men have been found to have lower levels of testosterone and lower sperm counts.
- Excessive drinking: Most studies have found that a few drinks a week won’t cause any harm, but excessive drinking has been linked to lower sperm counts, poor sperm movements, and poor sperm shape. One study found that with every additional drink consumed per week, the IVF success rate decreased.
2. Male fertility is also affected by age.
Though sperm production does usually keep up until a man’s dying day, it’s a misconception that “biological clocks” are only of concern to women. The effects of aging on fertility have been studied far less in men than in women, but research shows that both volume and quality of semen generally fall off as a man gets older. Another study found that, among a sample of couples using in vitro fertilization, every additional year of a man’s age corresponded to an 11-percent increase in the odds that a couple would not achieve a pregnancy.
3. Male infertility is more common than you think.
Overall, one-third of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues, one-third by female reproductive issues, and one-third by both male and female reproductive issues or unknown factors. Couples are advised to seek testing and treatment if they don’t conceive after a year of unprotected sex (or six months, if the woman is age 35 or older). Usually, the female partner will see her gynecologist for an evaluation, but men need to be evaluated, too.
Interested in learning more about preserving your fertility? Contact The Fertility Preservation in Pittsburgh today.