There are hundreds of reasons for male infertility. Some are medical in nature and others are a result of an accident or extreme physical event that occurred early in life. Male fertility can be associated with prescription medications, genetics and age. Some conditions are treatable with various forms of infertility treatments or health interventions and others simply require you to make a few personal changes.
Are all male fertility problems caused by a medical condition?
No, not all male fertility problems are caused by a medical condition or conditions (either current or past). Medical conditions can cause reduced male fertility, but so can lifestyle choices. Lifestyle choices known to reduce male fertility include smoking, drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs and taking anabolic steroids.
Smoking and Male Fertility
Smoking may reduce sperm count and with fewer sperm, fertility is reduced. Smoking may also impact the success rate of IVF cycles, so fertility specialists ask patients to quit smoking for four to six months before treatments begin to improve IVF success. There are some studies that associated male smoking with increased risk of miscarriage.
Alcohol and Male Fertility
Excessive consumption of alcohol can make it difficult for men to achieve and maintain an erection. Without an erection, ejaculation does not typically occur, which means conception is impossible. Alcohol may also lower testosterone levels so even if there are no erection problems, sperm count may be too low to cause pregnancies. Alcohol consumption may also degrade the health of sperm – increasing the risk of miscarriage.
Illegal drugs and male fertility. Illegal drugs, both natural and manufactured, are associated with lowered sperm count and decreased sperm motility. Drug use may also be associated with increased alcohol intake and smoking, which increases the risk of infertility problems.
Anabolic Steroids and Male Fertility
Anabolic steroids increase testosterone production. When supplemental testosterone is available, the testes may shut down sperm production. This causes infertility problems. Stopping anabolic steroid intake may reverse the problem, but not in every case.
Other simple choices that may reduce fertility. In addition to limiting or stopping negative lifestyle choices that impact fertility, men can also make a few simple changes to increase fertility – such as:
- Don’t sit your laptop on your lap for prolonged periods.
- Don’t use car seat heaters.
- Don’t wear tight underwear.
- Do eat a healthy diet with plenty of healthy fats.
- Do drink plenty of water.
Male fertility problems are caused by a long list of contributing factors and health conditions. It is best to change any lifestyle habits that may impact fertility and seek fertility help from a medical professional to improve your chances of conceiving.