Author: Dr. Meera Jindal, Consultant – Fertility specialist
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions that exist in case of male infertility which causes confusion and fear amongst couples. Let’s debunk a few common myths.
Myth: Only women have Infertility.
Fact: The popular belief people have is, if a couple is unable to conceive, it is automatically perceived as a woman’s problem. But no, infertility affects men too. It is high time we address this and be aware that men have fertility issues as likely as women. About 30% of couples face difficulty in getting pregnant due to fertility issues in men. No matter the cause the couple needs to consult with a fertility specialist to get an evaluation of the issue and proper treatment.
Myth: Male fertility is unaffected by age.
Fact: It is the most common misconception. Although sperm production in a healthy male occurs until death, men also have a biological clock when it comes to having children. Age might not affect fertility in men as significantly as it does in women, but it does gradually decrease. With aging, sperm quality and count decline. Certain age-related health conditions such as erectile dysfunction, diabetes, etc. can also lower the fertility of an individual.
Myth: Temperature has no effect on sperm health.
Fact: Sperm thrive in lower temperatures. It is advised to wear loose-fitting undergarments to avoid exposure of testes to high temperatures. It is best to keep away from very hot showers and saunas too as they are also known to affect sperm quality.
Also, refrain from placing laptop on your lap and mobile phones in trouser pockets as the radiation and heat generated from these devices might lower the quality of sperm.
Myth: Testosterone supplements boost sperm count.
Fact: Testosterone is an important hormone in the male reproductive system. It helps in maintaining healthy levels of sperm. Low levels of testosterone affect sperm count, quality, and structure. The natural solution which comes to one’s mind is to take additional
testosterone. It only worsens the problem, additional testosterone supplements won’t fix the low testosterone levels; in fact, it shuts down the body’s ability to naturally produce testosterone and increase the infertility issues even more drastically.
Myth: Overall health does not affect fertility in men.
Fact: Fertility is impacted by overall health. Sometimes, infertility in men is caused due to certain already-existing health conditions. Men affected with genetic disorders, obesity, diabetes, and various other health issues have higher chances of having infertility and might find it difficult to have a pregnancy.
A pregnancy with less to no complications can be achieved; the key to it is good physical and mental health.
Myth: Infertility means impotence.
Fact: Although these two words may seem to have the same meaning, Infertility and impotence are entirely different conditions.
Also called as erectile dysfunction or sexual dysfunction, Impotence is a condition wherein, a male experiences an inability to get or maintain an erection.People suffering from this condition find it difficult to have intercourse.
Infertility is the inability to conceive due to various reasons like inability to have intercourse or abnormalities in the semen.
Myth: Lifestyle choices do not affect conception.
Fact: Taking care of pre-conception health is a prerequisite for both men and women. Smoking, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, etc. impact the sexual health and sperm parameters of an individual. All the above factors can lead to difficulty in conceiving. Underlying health issues also have an impact on the chances of pregnancy. Shifting to healthy lifestyle choices such as restricting alcohol intake, smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight can improve fertility and overall health.
Myth: Fertility preservation is only for women.
Fact: Infertility affects men too. Owing to diminishing age and time, the fertility of males declines too. Semen freezing is a process in which sperm is cryopreserved to be used in future. This procedure is a breather for cancer patients, as treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have a negative impact on fertility. With the help of this procedure, they can preserve their sperm for future, when they want to have a child.