Fertility Advice For Men
It has been observed that the prime focus of most couple while planning a family is maternal health, which is quite understandable since mother conceives and bears the pregnancy for 9 months. In addition, various clinical studies indicates that maternal health directly affects the development and well-being of fetus. But according to the latest research, adequate health of father is equally important since 50% of the genetic material is contributed by the sperm. Most importantly, poor health can directly impact the reproductive health and fertility in males.
For instance, in a new report released by Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), investigators suggested that certain environmental or occupational toxins can impair fertility and aggravate the risk of certain congenital deformities (1).
How To Improve Your Fertility?
About 1/3rd of all the reported cases of infertility are caused by male issues alone. Therefore, it is very important to take all important measures to minimize the risk of complications.
- Book an appointment with your healthcare professional: Healthcare providers recommends males as well as females to see a physician for preliminary assessment for the physical and sexual health before planning a pregnancy. In addition, if you have a family history of certain genetic conditions, you should opt for genetic counseling and advice to minimize the risk of transferring unwanted mutations in your offspring.
- Check your medicine cabinet: Certain drugs, nutritional supplements and pharmacological preparations are known to adversely affect the fertility in both men and women. It is therefore very important to check and clean your medicine cabinet to make sure you are not taking a teratogenic substance. Make sure to speak to your doctor regarding any prescription drug you are taking for a chronic condition. Your doctor can always advice an alternative option if your current regimen is not suitable for your reproductive health.
- Analyze your occupational environment: According to a new report released by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, investigators suggested that exposure to certain chemicals (such as perchloroethylene, pesticides, benzene, paints, ethylene glycol ethers, herbicides, coal industry, petrochemicals) can lead to infertility in males (1). According to another study reported in the Toxicology Letters (2), men who work in industries where exposure to certain metals such as nickel, mercury, chromium etc. is high, the quality and quantity of sperms is generally low.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Incorporate healthy habits such as eating and sleeping at the appropriate times. Sleep disorders (such as sleep disordered breathing, restless leg syndrome, insomnia) and other related issues that can affect male fertility should be adequately managed to prevent complications.
Maintain Testicular Health
Your testicle temperature should be maintained at a slightly lower temperature than the basal body temperature. This is mainly because higher temperature can reduce the amount of sperms produced. It is very important to avoid wearing tight clothes and spending a lot of time in hot showers, saunas or electric blankets. Too much cycling can also harm your sperm production machinery due to jolts and frictions which can raise the temperature of testicles thus reducing the sperm quality (3).
Drugs And Compounds That Alter Fertility
If you are consuming these drugs, speak to your doctor for the fertility evaluation and advice. This is mainly because, these compounds are known to affect male fertility include:
- Drugs for gastrointestinal and urinary system: Pharmacological agents that are advised for the management of ulcers (such as cimetidine, nitrofurantoin and sulfasalazine) are known to impact the production of sperms and overall count of viable sperms.
- Drugs for respiratory or skin conditions: Steroidal agents such as prednisone, corticosteroids and other similar agents that are advised for the acute management of dermatological issues as well as respiratory conditions can compromise the production of testosterone. Long term use is associated with shrinkage of testicles and negative changes in the hormonal balance.
- Chemo or radiotherapy: Cancer managing drugs can causes sterility by destroying viable tissues that are associated with the production of healthy sperms. The risk of genetic mutations also increases after radiotherapy (4).
The most important thing is to keep yourself calm. Engaging in intercourse with the mere thought of getting your partner pregnant often makes things difficult. Therefore, speak to your doctor for fertility advice and live a healthy lifestyle.
1. Sheiner, E. K., Sheiner, E., Hammel, R. D., Potashnik, G., & Carel, R. (2003). Effect of occupational exposures on male fertility: literature review. Industrial health, 41(2), 55-62.
2. Mehrpour, O., Karrari, P., Zamani, N., Tsatsakis, A. M., & Abdollahi, M. (2014). Occupational exposure to pesticides and consequences on male semen and fertility: a review. Toxicology letters, 230(2), 146-156.
3. Maleki, B. H., Tartibian, B., & Vaamonde, D. (2014). The effects of 16 weeks of intensive cycling training on seminal oxidants and antioxidants in male road cyclists. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 24(4), 302-307.
4. Rabaca, A., Sousa, M., Alves, M. G., Oliveira, P. F., & Sá, R. (2015). Novel drug therapies for fertility preservation in men undergoing chemotherapy: clinical relevance of protector agents. Current medicinal chemistry, 22(29), 3347-3369.