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Five Male Fertility and Sperm Health Myths We Can’t Believe Still Exist
Even in 2017, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding male fertility and sperm health. It is unfortunate that these misunderstandings persist because if certain conditions go unchecked by medical professionals, men could potentially risk harming their fertility under the misperception that they are doing something they were led to believe was healthy. Just as women are encouraged to be educated about their fertility, men should be encouraged to do the same. Male fertility is not as certain as many men believe it to be. In fact, in cases where couples struggle to conceive, male factor infertility is as responsible as other causes (1/3 male factor, 1/3 female factor, 1/3 unexplained infertility).
The Fertility Center of California, Sperm Bank Inc. hopes to clear up some of the confusion around the top myths regarding male fertility and sperm health.
Myth #1: Men do not need to consider how their age impacts their fertility.
For women, the age at which fertility can change is typically around 35, but men are not used to hearing that they need to consider how their age will impact conception and/or the future health of their child. Recent studies indicate that male fertility does decrease with age, although at a later age than does female fertility.
Myth #2: Male lifestyle choices do not affect fertility.
Your weight, how much or how little you exercise, how much alcohol you consume, and whether you use tobacco products all affect the health and mobility of your sperm. As with most things in life, a healthy balance is needed to preserve long-term health, so both excessive exercise routines and lack of any exercise routine can cause men to experience fertility issues. Alcohol is a known contributor to difficulties achieving and maintaining an erection, but disproportionate use is also linked to poor sperm health.
Myth #3: Exposure to heat is of no concern.
Cell phones, laptops, tablets, hot tubs and friction from cycling are all scientifically linked to lower semen quality. Of course, this does not mean you need to go to extremes to avoid using a laptop, keeping a cell phone in your pocket or engaging in a beloved hobby like cycling, but these things should be carefully considered over the long-term. Simple changes like putting a barrier between your laptop and your lap or keeping your phone somewhere other than in your pocket can go a long way toward ensuring high-quality sperm.
Myth #4: Cancer treatment has little impact on future male fertility.
Lifesaving cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can negatively affect both male and female fertility later in life. Fortunately, there are fertility preservation services that men and women can undergo prior to cancer treatment so they can freeze their sperm or eggs for later use. Learn what cancer patients need to know before and after treatment.
Myth #5: Male fertility is not affected by underlying health concerns.
Not every health concern can impact your fertility, but many chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes) can make it difficult to conceive. Certain medications taken to manage chronic conditions can also affect the health of a man’s sperm.