When it comes to infertility, especially male-factor infertility, the topic is typically kept under wraps and rarely discussed. While it may feel too personal to share, this lack of discussion, correct information, and absence of resources can help perpetuate the false beliefs and perpetuate taboos that many people have about male fertility.
Having said that, when navigating the path of fertility struggles, the road is paved with myths and false information, so it’s important to put some of these myths to rest once and for all. Here are some of the most common myths surrounding male fertility that you should know about.
Fertility Myth #1: Frequent Ejaculations Lowers Men’s Fertility
One of the most common male fertility myths has to do with ejaculation frequency. While this may sound like this has a solid foundation of truth, the fact is, as long as a man has normal semen quality, sperm motility and a healthy concentration of sperm, having sex frequently or having frequent ejaculations will not alter the sperm characteristics.
Fertility Myth #2: Age Doesn’t Matter for Men
While most people know that women’s fertility declines with age, most people also assume that men stay fertile forever, this however is not true, in fact, sperm banks often times won’t accept donors above the age of 44. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to conceive past this age, but the quality of sperm tends to experience a general decline after men hit their forties. From age 35, men start to experience changes in sperm motility and morphology. Moreover, the ejaculated volume begins to decrease during this time as well. In addition, as men age, they also experience numerous breaks in their DNA strands which can lead to a greater chance of passing genetic issues.
Fertility Myth #3: Men Should Only Wear Loose Boxers
You may have heard that you need to throw away your snug briefs and only put on boxers. Those proposing this have probably heard about the impact excessive heat can have on sperm health. And while you should do your best to avoid putting too much heat on the scrotum as it is linked to low-quality sperm, wearing briefs may not make a difference. Other actions, such as having your laptop on your things however, definitely can.
Fertility Myth #4: Your Weight Doesn’t Matter
Many people are unaware of the various health factors that play a significant role in fertility, and the fact is obesity affects male fertility. For some men the effects of weight on fertility don’t seem to be as obvious as other infertility causes, and thus tend to go ignored. So where does weight play into fertility health for men? Higher BMIs in men tend to lead to increased estrogen and less testosterone, likewise being underweight can also contribute to hormone imbalances, both resulting in decreased libido and hindered sperm health and fertility.
Fertility Myth #5: Testosterone Supplements and TRT Enhance Male Fertility
The fact is the testosterone hormone helps improve men’s sexual drive and energy, and plays a vital role in men’s reproductive health. Unfortunately, some people take this information and assume that it also makes men fertile. An increased intake of this hormone however can have quite the opposite effect as supplements and hormone replacement can suppress the pituitary gland. Because of this, very little if any healthy sperm is produced.
Fertility Myth #6: Smoking Only Affects Women’s Fertility
When it comes to smoking, nicotine consumption has the ability to hinder both female and male fertility. For men, smoking can lead to damaged sperm, low concentration of semen, and sperm deformities and abnormalities. Similar to the effect of smoking on female fertility, consuming nicotine also affects the production of hormones in males as well, which is why quitting smoking can be a good idea for both women and men, equally, when it comes to trying to conceive.
Fertility Myth #7: Women’s Health is All That Matters When It Comes to Fertility
The simple fact is, this is not the case. Up to 40 percent of the time infertility is caused by a problem that can be attributed to the man; and in up to 20 percent of cases, causes of infertility can be equally attributed to both the man and the woman. In general, it takes about three months for new sperm to fully develop. Because of this, it is important to work on improving men’s health for at least three months before starting to try to conceive.
Fertility Myth #8: Nothing Can Help with Low Sperm Counts
For men with low sperm counts, infertility isn’t a guaranteed sentence. Men with low sperm counts should evaluate lifestyle choices that can impact sperm count, such as smoking, drinking, proper weight, and more. Men should also seek evaluation and treatment from a fertility specialist that can help improve sperm counts.
When it comes to overcoming male-factor infertility, knowledge is power, and knowing about the common fertility myths can help you get an edge when you’re trying to conceive. The bottom line is male-factor fertility struggles can be treated and overcome. If you are trying to have a baby, seek out the medical professionals that can help give you the best, and most correct information about your situation as oppose to looking into old wives’ tales and myths, that way, you can take the right actions toward starting a family.