Know the Male Infertility Risk Factors
Proactive Steps to Improving Your Reproductive Health
Taking action before and while you are trying to get pregnant can greatly increase the chances for success. Men have a long fertility lifetime, with the ability to produce sperm and father a child well into their 70s. Paternal age is tied to chromosomal problems, and disorders like schizophrenia, so it’s possible, but not advisable.
Dr. James Douglas promotes good health habits and self-awareness so that men can protect and preserve their fertility over the decades.
A number of risk factors men should be aware of are linked to lifestyle and family history. To help ward off issues with male infertility, and avoid the need for assisted reproductive technologies, it’s wise to adopt a healthful lifestyle and know the facts about risk factors.
Risk Factors for Male Infertility
Abnormal Body Weight: Your weight and body mass index (BMI) play an important role in fertility potential. The endocrine system controls the delicate balance of hormones in the body.Men who are overweight, with a BMI 10-15 percent above normal, will experience a rise in insulin levels and decrease in testosterone. In addition, erectile dysfunction and low libido are associated with obesity. An extremely low BMI is another male infertility risk factor. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 12 percent of primary infertility results from deviations in body weight.
Alcohol and Drugs: Drug abuse, tobacco and marijuana use have been shown to reduce sperm production and hinder the ability to conceive a baby. Heavy alcohol use is also linked with infertility.
Cholesterol: A Journal of Urology study linked lowering cholesterol with improvements in erectile dysfunction.
DES Exposure: Pregnant women were sometimes prescribed DES, a synthetic estrogen, between 1938 and 1971. The National Cancer Institute reports that some men exposed to DES in utero experience a lower sperm count.
Environmental: Your workplace environment might be causing problems with fertility. If you are exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, microwave emissions, radiation, high heat, industrial chemicals or other toxins, consider the long-term affects this might have on your potential to father a child.
Exposure to STD: Symptoms of sexually transmitted disease can silently destroy your fertility. If you have had multiple sexual partners and have not worn a condom, ask your physician to order blood testing for STD.
Heat Exposure: Extreme temperatures, such as those in saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms, will cause the testicles to overheat and affect sperm health. Even a slight increase by a fraction of a degree can have detrimental affects on sperm. While you are trying to get pregnant, Dr. Douglas recommends avoiding elevated temperatures, and curtailing use of laptop computers.
Medical History: Your health history will provide clues as to whether you will experience infertility. Discuss with your fertility doctor the repercussions of hernia repair, mumps after puberty, pelvic surgeries, chemotherapy or radiation, STDs and genetic disease.
Stress: While the evidence is anecdotal, fertility specialists caution anyone trying to conceive to manage stress as effectively as possible. Stress can have a negative impact on the hormones that regulate reproductive function, and the desire to have sex.
Managing Male Infertility Risk Factors
Male factors cause half of all cases of infertility, with roots in biological or environmental and lifestyle issues. Dr. Douglas routinely treats male infertility–a disease of the reproductive system–with fertility medication to improve sperm counts, and advanced reproductive technologies (ARTS) to intervene in extreme cases where few or no sperm are present.
Dr. Douglas addresses male infertility in his Plano fertility clinic, and partners with urologists when surgical intervention is necessary. Contact IVF Plano for a consultation and to schedule a semen analysis.