Male Infertility Myths Debunked by Experts; Know Prevention Tips

Male reproductive health is rarely discussed in India or across the globe. It is still considered taboo to discuss male infertility. And even when infertility is recognised, it is looked upon with disappointment and humiliation. A bunch of studies have suggested that male fertility is quite dependent on the body mass index (BMI), as obesity can reduce the quality of men’s sperm. A study by a professor of Harvard School of Public Health revealed that overweight men were 11 percent more likely to have a low sperm count, and 39 percent more likely to have no sperm in their ejaculate.

Recently in a chat with HT Lifestyle, CEO and Co-founder of Indira IVF, Dr Kshitiz Murdia highlighted how when a couple is not able to conceive, the blame automatically is placed upon the female, which is quite unfair. He said, “It is one of the most widespread fallacies to date, and it stems from the fact that women are at the centre of the whole process.” From conception through full-term pregnancy and to nursing and caring for the children, women take the centre stage, hence, the face the brunt.

Dr Abhinandan Sadalge, consultant, Urology at PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre in Khar, also echoed the same opinion. Stressing upon the fact that infertility has been medically confirmed to be caused by underlying disorders in both sexes, the experts debunked a number of myths that have been linked to male infertility.

Myth 1: Sperm quality is the one and the only factor that plays part in male infertility.

Fact: Overall health influences fertility. Though sperm quality is a crucial element of male fertility, it’s not the only factor. Hormone levels, smoking, obesity, alcohol and certain medication can negatively affect their fertility.

Myth 2: Infertility is only linked to reproductive health and it has nothing to do with general well-being.

Fact: Infertility can take place due to a variety of circumstances other than difficulties with an individual’s reproductive health. The human body is a complicated mechanism and each function is in some way or the other linked to the next.

With increased levels of environmental stresses, as well as use of hazardous foods and drugs, an increase in blood pressure and a reduction in sperm health is observed in people with time. Stress impacts men’s mental as well as physical health, it further releases hormones, which lowers sperm level.

Myth 3: Age is not a factor in male infertility

People are under the impression that men can father children at any age, and male infertility does not decline as they grow old.

Fact: Male fertility declines with age. Though age does not impact male fertility in exactly the same way as female infertility, the sperm count and quality gradually decrease as you get older. Erectile dysfunction and a bunch of health conditions are more common in older men, hence it can impact your fertility.

Myth 4: STIs and STDs do not factor

Fact: Male infertility can also be caused by sexually transmitted illnesses or infections. A high percentage of teenagers and young adults might get affected with any STI/Ds and it goes undiagnosed. As a result, individuals might be unaware that they have contracted any STIs or Ds, which can significantly influence on sexual and reproductive health and, in the long run, lead to infertility.

These STI/Ds impact the quantity and quality of the sperm, raising the risk of sexual health issues and induce infertility in males. How to avoid transmission of STI/Ds? Limiting the number of sexual partners, using protection during intercourse, and getting frequent STI/Ds testing are some ways to avoid it.

Myth 5: Infertility is not common in men

The experts shared that infertility affects upto 15% of couples. It is very common for women to assume that infertility is their problem, as pregnancy takes place in the female body.

Fact: The fact is that infertility affects men and women equally. According to the expert, one in 25 men experiences male fertility, and about 30% of all infertility cases are due to the male factor and another 30% are because of the female factor. The remaining 30 – 40% of infertility instances are either unclear or are a combination of both male and female infertility.

Including these tips can better the odds of a successful conception:

  • Consume healthy diet
  • Keep your weight under control
  • Don’t consume illicit drugs, especially anabolic steroids
  • Control Alcohol consumption
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid contact with toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals
  • Keep your scrotum cool, don’t take hot baths and avoid wearing tight pants
  • Don’t intake vitamin supplements
  • Exercise in moderation, excessive exercise could lower your testosterone and thus affect sperm count.

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