Male Fertility Myths and Facts

Many people may wonder why a man would be concerned about his fertility. It is the woman who has to get pregnant and bear the burden of childbearing. Men play a very small role in the whole process of making a baby. This is limited to donating one sperm.

It is no mystery that male infertility is quite widespread. What makes it so noteworthy is the fact that without a fertile male copulation is not possible. Male infertility is no trivial matter to be brushed aside lightly like some folks are inclined to do. The fecund male is soon becoming a scarcity.

There are so many myths floating around about male fertility that men are not sure what to believe any longer. They are confused as to what foods to eat, what clothes to wear, and what they should do, and what to avoid, to preserve or boost their fertility. To start with, let us look at the tall claims made by various companies who are trying to sell pills to boost fertility. All the magic or miracles pills are false and will make no difference to your fertility. If one pill could cure you, they wouldn’t need to advertise and try and convince you to buy it, people would be flocking in hordes to buy it, and fertility clinics would be prescribing it to their patients. But we don’t see this happening. No doctor is prescribing medication to a male whose fertility test results are not very encouraging. So don’t bother wasting your money on magic portions that only make your money disappear and doesn’t make any difference to your fertility.

Before believing or following, something it is better to have scientific evidence as proof. Deep in your heart, you know that there is no magic or miracle cure as much as you would like for it to be true. But when you hear that there is an instant solution to your problem, the excitement gets the better of your sound judgement and you are lured to trying this false promise. Everyone is prone to be conned at some point in their life despite how shrewd you may think yourself.

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT MALE FERTILITY

There are many beliefs about male fertility. Some of them are grandmother’s tales, while others may have some truth associated with them. Let us look at each one in detail and see what is based on some truth and which one is only a myth.

Age does not affect male fertility

Male fertility declines with age. An older man is less potent and will take longer to impregnate a woman.
The effect of age on male fertility has been undermined for many years. Today with fertility on a steady decline, male fertility has come under the scanner. Once a man crosses 40, the quality of his sperm is on a steady decline. This does not mean that an older man cannot father a child, but his chances are greatly reduced due to the deterioration of his sperm quality — the concentration of abnormally shaped sperm increases in older men.

Only women need to take supplements for fertility

Supplements help to improve male fertility and should be taken when planning to have a baby.
Folic acid is recommended for pregnant women but also helps to boost male fertility. Other supplements such as Zinc and vitamin C & E are highly recommended to improve sperm quality and sperm count in males. So don’t ignore your supplement they are important. They play a vital role in sperm production. Vitamin C helps your body to absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. Zinc is said to be really good for boosting the quantity of sperm produced by your body. Different vitamins and minerals help other aspects of the sperm, including your sperm count.

Smoking does not have any effect on a man’s fertility

Smoking reduces male fertility by damaging sperm quality and reducing sperm count.
People look at others who smoke and the children they have sired. This makes them wonder if smoking does affect fertility. Well, there has been a decline in sperm quality over the years, and today a man is not producing as much sperm as his forefathers did. People who smoke have been able to have children successfully, but when you are not able to have children, one of the factors could be tobacco. Scientists have found that smoking increases your chances of infertility by 30%. It does also depend on how many cigarettes you smoke.

Cell phones and laptops do not affect fertility

The heat and electromagnetic waves emitted by both cell phones and laptops have been found to affect sperm quality.
Many men are inclined to keep their cell phones in their trouser pockets close to the pelvic area, and this could be damaging your sperm as your phone is constantly sending out and receiving electromagnetic signals. The heat from keeping your laptop on your lap for long durations has been known to cause DNA damage to the sperm.

Hot tubs are relaxing and help to reduce stress and improve sperm quality

Heat is damaging for the sperm. Soaking in a hot tub means exposing your sperm to high heat conditions.
It is no wonder that the Swedish people who enjoy saunas have a very low fertility rate. There is a reason the testes hang outside the body. This helps it to stay cooler than the rest of the body. The testes need to remain cool in order for the sperm to remain healthy. Ensure that you avoid exposing the testes to high heat for long durations such as soaking in hot tubs and saunas.

Boxers are better than briefs

As long as your testes have air to breathe and remain cool, briefs are fine.
Men who wear briefs are not likely to become infertile even though boxers are ideal and provide great cooling and air circulation to the testes. There is no compulsion that you have to switch over to boxers to keep your virility.

Cycling can cause male infertility

Men have been cycling much before the automobile was invented, and there is no proof as to the damage caused to the sperm by cycling. In fact, cycling keeps the testes cool with the movement of the legs fanning the pelvic area. There is not much restriction or pressure caused by the bicycle seat to the testes, and hence the sperm are safe on a cycle. Cycling is better than driving an automobile and sitting in a seat which tends to generate heat.

Smoking marijuana is good for fertility

Marijuana not only reduces sperm count but also results in abnormally shaped sperm.
Those who smoke marijuana are likely to be infertile due to the negative effects of marijuana on their sperm. Abnormalities in sperm shape can prevent conception. Abnormally shaped sperm cannot swim, and neither are they able to penetrate the egg for fertilisation.

Alcohol in moderation is fine

Occasionally drinking alcohol is fine, but regularly drinking in moderation can harm your sperm quality.
Alcohol, when consumed regularly even in small quantities, begins to affect the shape of the sperm. For pregnancy to take place, there is a requirement for a certain minimum percentage of normally formed sperm. So limit your alcohol to occasions.

Abstinence to improve sperm quality

The more sperm you release the better the quality of your sperm.
In fact, it has been found that infrequent sex can cause infertility. Regularly ejaculating can keep your sperm healthy and improve sperm motility. Sperm motility is the movement and swimming capability of the sperm. Sperm that can move fast and well are more likely to reach the female egg and fertilise it. So continue to have sex regularly and ejaculate to keep your sperm quality optimum.

Chemicals in the skin products and everyday items can make you infertile

Chemical absorbed by your skin from sunscreen or chemicals from your new car seat upholstery is as unlikely to make you infertile as eating eggs fried in a non-stick pan.
It has been found that small amounts of the chemical in our creams, shampoos, soaps or other regular items of usage are definitely not going to result in male infertility. These small amounts are easily expelled by the body.

A healthy man has all healthy sperm

Only about 14% of the sperm is healthy in an average healthy male.
Healthy sperm are those that are properly shaped and have good swimming skills. In general, a large percentage of the sperm have no vitality, are poorly shaped and cannot move. 14% of healthy sperm is all that is required to be fertile and capable of making your female partner pregnant. In the end, only one sperm is required, but the others help that one along. So if you are healthy and robust, don’t assume your sperm are following your cue. Take precautions to protect your sperm.

Male infertility is hereditary

The genes may have some influence on male fertility, but to a large extent, male infertility is caused due to other factors.
Some of the other causes of male infertility are factors such as injury to the pelvic area, infections, STD’s and various other reasons that have nothing to do with the genes. Lifestyle factors play a vital role in making male infertility. Poor habits like junk food, smoking, alcohol, improper sleep etc. can reduce sperm count and damage sperm quality.

Other health problems do not affect fertility

Many health issues have an adverse effect on fertility.
Health problems like diabetes, blood pressure, liver cirrhosis etc. can affect male fertility. These conditions can affect the nerves and muscle failure leading to retrograde ejaculation. Diabetes and other problems like low blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction. Over and above this, the medication that you are on for blood pressure and other ailments also has an adverse effect on your sperm. Cancer and cancer treatment can cause infertility. Chemotherapy is not kind to your body and has harsh side effects, one of which is infertility. If you have to undergo chemotherapy, it is advisable to consider fertility preservation prior to starting the chemo.

Weight does not affect fertility

As much as you would like for that to be true, but your weight does hamper fertility.
Obese people have a hormonal imbalance. When you are carrying around excess weight, it produces higher levels of oestrogen (the female hormone), and your testosterone (male hormone) levels are reduced. This is probably the reasons why very fat men have some feminine characteristics. The reduced levels of testosterone mean that less sperm is produced by the testes. On the other hand, being too thin or underweight is also not good for fertility and could lead to a hormonal imbalance as well and reduces testosterone production. Men who are excessively thin have a high probability of being infertile.

Diet does not affect male fertility

Your sperm respond to what you eat.
Certain foods are proved to increase sperm production as well are improve sperm quality. The male body produces new sperm every day. When you switch over to a sperm-friendly diet, your body responds immediately and begins producing more sperm and better quality sperm. It may take a while before these sperm shows up in your semen though. It takes sperm approximately anywhere between 2 – 3 months to mature. In a similar manner, poor food habits can lead to poor quality sperm. So what out for what you put in your mouth.

Exercise is good for you

Exercise in moderation is good, but too much of it could lead to decreased testosterone.
With a lowered amount of testosterone being produced by the body, the sperm count will decline. Hence it is preferable to keep the heavyweights at bay and just do a short routine to keep physically fit.Being healthy doesn’t mean having a Schwarzenegger body. Be careful of health supplement provided by the gym, and they could have components that cause infertility. Steroids are an absolutely ‘no’. It can cause testicular shrinkage and lead to infertility.

Ashish uses to enjoy hot tub soaks, and this was a part of his therapy for a pelvic region injury he had sustained. Long after his physiotherapy was over and he had recovered Ashish continued spending at least an hour soaking in the tub on a daily basis. He used very hot water and didn’t realise the damage it was causing his sperm. A year after he got married, his wife was still not pregnant. They visited a fertility consultant are learnt that due to the hot tub soaks Ashish had been causing his sperm great harm.

It is essential for every male to be absolutely clear about what the myths are and what the facts are. This could seriously impair your fertility or boost it. Ignorance can be a dangerous thing when it comes to male fertility.

TREATMENT FOR MALE FERTILITY PROBLEMS

Male fertility problems may vary in type, but are all related to the sperm in some way or the other. It has to do with the quantity of sperm or the quality of it.

The most common conditions for male infertility are:

  • poor sperm count
  • poor sperm movement
  • abnormally shaped sperm
  • no sperm

There are a number of different types of treatments for male infertility to address the various issues faced by couples which impedes them from conceiving. Some of the most highly recommended male fertility treatments are:

  • IUI  : The most common male fertility treatment is Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI). It is popular because of the simplicity of the procedure. Another factor that makes it viable is the cheap cost at which couples can have this treatment. Women prefer IUI to other treatments as it is a non-invasive procedure. It is also quick and painless. Sperm are injected into the female uterus after being processed and the bad ones removed. Fertilisation takes place naturally.
  • ICSI  : Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a technique that helps specifically with fertilisation. This procedure is used in cases of severe male infertility when sperm are not able to penetrate the outer covering of the female egg on their own. To help them with this process, the sperm is injected inside the egg. One sperm among the many sperm is selected for this procedure.
  • IMSI  : The intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection is a technique that takes ICSI one step further. The sperm is microscopically examined under a powerful microscope. This allows the doctors to examine the finer characteristics and qualities of the sperm, including the nucleus. This technique is used in cases where the quality of the sperm is very poor.

IVF AT MEDICOVER FERTILITY

Medicover Fertility is part of a European healthcare organisation. This clinic opened its doors in India with advanced fertility techniques and high-quality medical care. There is a great need for IVF treatment in India. On similar lines to the rest of the world, Indian couples are also faced with a large number of male infertility cases.

Medicover has a state of the art laboratory with high precision equipment for performing various intricate procedures on the sperm and egg to ensure successful fertilisation as well as to carry out pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and IMSI.

Medicover offers its patients a state of the art medical facilities and international standard IVF treatment. Medicover is a leading fertility chain in India and is totally equipped to handle all kinds of infertility cases, including severe male infertility.

Frequently Asked Question’s

I have been cycling regularly since the age of 14 and even participate in professional competitions, could I be infertile?

There is no scientific evidence that cycling can cause infertility, so you don’t need to worry.

Is wearing Lycra briefs unhealthy for my sperm?

You can safely wear Lycra just make sure that your pelvic area does not get too warm.

Is having a hot shower also bad for sperm?

Heat is bad for sperm. Try and reduce the temperature of your bath water and make your bath as quick as possible.