"Infertility." Just the word sounds like it’s female business, doesn’t it? It’s the career chicks who “forgot to have babies” that seem to be spending so much time at those fertility clinics, right? Wrong. Infertility is a couple’s problem, and according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, it’s one not often talked about unless it’s a success story.
Infertility is as much a man’s problem as a woman’s. And while women’s fertility issues are sometimes caused by missing that narrow window of opportunity—about 400 ovulations over about 30 years where much can go wrong—men’s problems can be lifelong or created by life choices.
It’s true: In the last 50 years, human male fertility has been declining. Right now, you’ve got half the firepower of a man who lived in the 1960s. And male fertility is continuing to decline by about two percent a year.
About 1 in 10 American couples of reproductive age are mysteriously infertile.
In general, docs say that when a couple is infertile, a third of the time it’s a female problem, a third of the time it’s problems with the dude’s body and a third of the time it could be either. In one English study of 708 couples, sperm defects were the most common cause of infertility.
So what’s slowing, stopping or killing those speedy little guys? Life. The causes of male infertility can certainly be genetic, but they can also be related to your lifestyle. We’ve all heard about hot tubs, but here’s a list that might include some sperm enemies you never knew:
A genetic mutation that removes a coating of carbohydrates around sperm reduces their mobility. When men inherit both copies of this mutant gene—one from their father and one from their mother—they have the most problems impregnating women.
Being unhealthy affects every cell in your body.
Painters, printers, welders, builders, drivers, and some office workers can have a low sperm count due to rising scrotum temperature and/or prolonged periods of sitting.
Alcoholics have 30 percent fewer normal cells in their semen.
Sexual problems like premature ejaculation
Duh. If the young swimmers don’t even make it into the canal, they’ll never find the prize.
One of smoking’s biggest negative impacts is on sperm motility.
You need lots of vitamin C , zinc, vitamin E, and beta-carotene in order to have healthy sperm.
Exposure to toxins
Toxins, like pesticides and lead paint (hear that, gardeners, farmers and painters?), can damage sperm.
Marijauna or other drug use
This reduces your total sperm count and semen volume. Plus, sperm in marijuana addicts burns out faster and the race is lost.
Yep, the very name should be changed to table-tops because America’s favorite accessory heats up sperm by two degrees during just a one-hour train ride._________________________________________________________________________
More from AskMen.com:
Anabolic steroid use
This can cause testicular shrinkage and infertility.
This produces high levels of adrenal steroid hormones that cause a testosterone deficiency resulting in infertility.
Canned food and microwaved plastic containers
This is bad, bad, bad because of the release of bisphenol A (BPA) that can cause infertility.
Tight underwear heats up sperm’s fine storage containers.
Men over 40 can have a lower sperm count and a high incidence of genetic disorders in their offspring.
Bottled up stress
A British study found that men who express their emotions and talk about their problems have higher sperm counts than those who do not.
The good news behind all this is that treatments are available for men with problems related to physical disorders or sexual problems. Interventions range from surgery to correct a blockage to the treatment of infections, sex therapy for intercourse problems and hormone treatments. But the lifestyle treatments are in your hands.
Bottom line, if you’d like healthy, happy little swimmers who can get the job done right, keep your balls and your head cool, live a clean life and don’t be shy about expressing yourself.