Making the decision to have a baby and start a family is an exhilarating experience that can change your lives forever. But once that decision is made, if you don’t conceive within the first few months, it can cause anxiety and tension within your relationship. It’s normal to worry that there’s something “wrong” with one or both of you.
It’s important to note that infertility affects around 15 percent of all couples at some point in their lives, and it can be influenced by a number of factors. Of those factors, one third stem from the female, one third from the male, and the rest is a combination of factors pertaining to both parties.
Here’s a look at some factors that can cause male infertility.
It’s been proven that smoking cigarettes notably decreases sperm count. It’s also responsible for reducing the mobility of sperm cells. In essence, this means that sperm cells will have a harder time reaching a viable egg to fertilize it. It’s estimated that, if a chronic smoker stops smoking, the amount and quality of sperm they’ll be able to produce should improve within four weeks or so.
Prolonged use of Recreational Drugs
Chronic marijuana smoking can cause sperm cells to perform poorly. The active drug in marijuana, THC, can cause the sperm to move slower, preventing it from reaching the egg and also impairs its ability to digest the egg’s outer coat using enzymes. Studies have also found that prolonged use of cannabis can result in decreased amount of seminal fluid, which affects motility of the sperm within it.
Chronic alcohol abuse can reduce a man’s testosterone levels, which affects his libido. It also damages the sperm’s quality and ability to move. It does this by preventing the liver from metabolizing vitamin A, which the body uses to aid in sperm development
Anabolic Steroid Use
When a man takes steroids to boost his testosterone levels in an effort to increase muscle mass and athletic performance, it has a direct effect on his ability to father children. Basically, when the hormone is low, the brain tells the testicles to boost sperm production, and when it’s high, it tells them to stop producing sperm.
Taking steroids tricks the brain into shrinking the testicles and shutting down all sperm production. He’ll still experience normal erections and orgasms, but he’ll be shooting blanks. If conceiving naturally isn’t an option, due to steroid use or other health factors for either partner, My Egg Bank is a wonderful resource to turn to for alternative family building options.
Vitamin C and Zinc Deficiency
Our food just isn’t as nutritious as it was in years past. Thanks to the way most food is processed, most nutrients are inadvertently removed before they reach our dinner tables. Unfortunately this can affect fertility in both men and women. For men specifically, a daily intake of vitamin C and Zinc helps keep sperm from sticking together or clumping.
Wearing undergarments that are too tight can increase the scrotal temperature, which causes the body to produce less sperm, and lower the chances of conceiving naturally.
Exposure to Toxins
Prolonged exposure to environmental hazards such as pesticides, lead, paint fumes, ration, radioactive materials, and natural substances like mercury, benzene, and boron, can all play a role in causing a reduced sperm count, and limited mobility of sperm cells. If you work in an area that requires you to handle these substances, take caution to protect yourself. Your fertility — and your overall health — could be at risk.
Malnutrition and Anemia
When our bodies don’t have the nutrients they need to sustain healthy bodily functions, they lag in the area of sperm production. It can lead to deficiencies in key vitamins such as vitamin C, folate (folic acid), selenium, and zinc, all of which are critical for healthy male fertility. Maintaining a healthy weight and good health overall is one of the best ways to ensure fertility.
There are so many factors that go into a man’s sexual health and fertility. Each of these features come back to living a healthy lifestyle. Taking care to nourish your body properly, not exposing yourself to toxins, and avoiding poor lifestyle choices will eliminate many of the causes of male infertility. If you and your significant other are trying to get pregnant but aren’t having any luck, see your doctor, and get tested to see what you need to do to get the ball rolling and start building your family.