When boys are growing up, they probably don’t think about their fertility much. You might concern yourself more with whether it’s going to snow enough to close the schools tomorrow or scraping the money together to buy a new comic book. By the time you’re an adult, though, your priorities have changed.
Many men want to be fathers, and their partners want to be parents as well. For some families, it can be a significant focus. If you’re dealing with male infertility, conception can be much more challenging than you would like.
There are some male infertility issues over which you have no control, but there are others that you can avoid. We’ll look at some of those in this article.
Male Infertility Causes You Can’t Prevent
We’ll start by talking about some male infertility causes that you can’t use behavior modification to prevent. In 2002, more than 7% of men under age 45 had fertility issues. 14% of these had sperm-related problems, while another 6% had a varicocele.
The doctors call it varicocele when they identify varicose veins in the spermatic cord. Men have no control over this issue, but a doctor can often utilize Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, to help the partner conceive.
Some men also produce anti-sperm antibodies, or they have azoospermia, meaning that there is no viable sperm in their semen. A doctor can perform male fertility testing to determine if any of this is happening.
You might also deal with erectile dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, retrograde ejaculation, or ejaculatory incompetence. These will make it difficult for you to impregnate a partner. If any of this is going on, you can talk to a doctor about it. Many times, there are viable solutions.
Now, let’s talk about some lifestyle changes you can make that can increase conception chances.
Excess Alcohol Consumption:
If you are an alcoholic, that can impact you in all kinds of ways, none of them positive. You are probably on the path toward sclerosis. You can easily get in a car accident and get a DUI, or you can have work-related issues. However, you having children is also less likely.
If you drink heavily, that lowers your testosterone levels. This reduces sperm production and shrinks the testes. Infertility is a definite side effect if you can’t reduce your alcohol consumption or quit entirely.
Studies have also shown that if you smoke or vape, you will have decreased semen quality. Your sperm will not be as mobile, and you will also have increased DNA fragmentation. You will have fewer healthy-shaped sperm.
If you can reduce your smoking, you make conception more likely. If you can cut it out entirely, though, that is your best option.
It also doesn’t matter whether you’re smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or something else. You might hear that smoking weed will cause infertility, and that is true to some extent, but the reality is that smoking anything will hurt you in this regard.
Drug Abuse or Addiction:
If you are a drug addict or abuse drugs, it’s also less likely that you can impregnate a spouse or partner. Different drugs you’re using can impact your body in various ways, but none of them will increase your fertility.
If you use marijuana or cocaine, those both reduce your sperm number, and they cause less high-quality sperm production. If you use anabolic steroids, those shrink your testicles and decrease your sperm production. Opiates also reduce your healthy sperm count.
If you’re significantly overweight or obese, it is less likely that you and your partner can conceive. If you weigh more, that probably means your body will be warmer, especially around the scrotum. That hotter temperature kills many of the sperm in your semen.
Also, more body fat leads to hormonal imbalances. If you’re obese, you will probably have a higher estrogen level. Multiple studies have shown that if men weigh more, particularly if they cross the obesity threshold, that will lower sperm concentration. The surviving sperm cannot move as well, either.
Stress is one more factor in men that can cause infertility. If you have a job you hate, you’re stuck in traffic every day to and from work, or you continuously bicker with your relatives, it’s harder to conceive.
Unsurprisingly, if you have less stress in your life and healthy outlets to deal with it, it’s more likely that you and your partner can have a child when you decide that it’s time.