Male fertility is affected by many factors. There are genetic factors, such as a predisposition to low testosterone. There are physical factors, such as a blocked vans deferens, which keep sperm from entering the ejaculate. There are also nutritional factors.
Some of the most significant factors in male fertility have to do with lifestyle and environment. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while with no luck, there may be some changes to your lifestyle that will boost your fertility.
Here are a few to consider:
- Manage your weight. Overweight men tend to have a harder time conceiving than men of a healthy weight. Having too much or too little body fat can cause a drop in testosterone levels, which leads to a drop in the quality of your sperm.
- Keep ‘em cool. There’s an old wives’ tale that says men who wear briefs are more likely to struggle with infertility than men who wear boxers, due to the increased heat on the testicles. While increased heat on the testicles can cause problems with fertility, the extra heat generated by briefs isn’t likely to do so. This is more likely to happen to people that work in high-heat industries, such as welders, bakers, metal workers and even those who spend many hours at a time sitting in their jobs.
- Learn to live with pests. Pesticides can also cause problems with male fertility. Men who work on farms, in parks, in fruit and vegetable processing and pest control are in particular danger.
- Take care with chemicals. Other chemicals can cause male infertility, too. Men who work in the chemical industry and those that work in roadway cleaning or maintenance are especially susceptible.
- Just say “no.” Use of recreational or performance-enhancing drugs can have a number of negative effects on male fertility, depending on the nature of the drug. Anabolic steroids, for example, are one of the worst offenders. Recreational use of marijuana is believed to cause sterility in men, as well.
- Watch out for cancer. Cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause male infertility. If you’re about to undergo cancer treatments and hope to one day have children, consider banking some of your sperm so that it can later be used via artificial insemination.
- Avoid the pill. Exposure to various hormones can affect your fertility. This includes men working in the manufacturing of the birth control pill, as well as those involved in farming productions that handle and use various hormones on livestock.
Making some of these changes can improve your chances of conceiving. They won’t help you out, however, if your infertility is caused by something else. If you’ve been trying to conceive for six months to a year, consider talking to your doctor about fertility testing or a referral to a fertility clinic for you and your partner.