Our society is lousy when it comes to educating young men about reproductive health. Beyond showing a few anatomy diagrams to elementary students and passing out free condoms to college kids, we don’t spend a lot of time talking to guys about fertility.
And that’s a big problem.
It’s a problem because infertility rates continue to climb and the male partner often ends up isolated, neglected, and shell-shocked on his path to fatherhood.
But fertility is a team sport. Infertility affects women and men equally – after all it takes both an egg and sperm to make a baby. Many couples don’t understand the role men play in the fertility process, nor do they understand what men can do to optimize the couple’s chances at conception.
No matter where you are in your fertility journey, here are three things you need to know about men’s reproductive health:
1. Male infertility is just as common as female infertility
About one third of infertility diagnoses are female factor, one third are male factor, and the remaining third are either unexplained or an issue between that particular man and woman. Those numbers are real. But let’s be honest: she is carrying the brunt of the fertility burden today. She’s the one tracking her ovulation, taking her prenatals, talking with her Ob/Gyn, and telling him when it’s time to try to “make it happen.” She’s also probably the one looking into fertility treatment options – “When should we take that next step? How much will it cost? Does our insurance cover it?” And chances are she’s also taking on the unavoidable emotional baggage – wondering what she’s doing wrong, avoiding facebook and baby showers, and praying that next month will be THE month.
But fertility is a team sport. If you’re a guy trying to conceive, you need to be there front and center with her from day one. You’re in this together. Period.
2. Your reproductive health is linked to your overall health
Sperm provide a little window into a man’s overall health. If a man has poor sperm quality, there is often an underlying physiological cause. Maybe he has an infection or early signs of a more serious disease. Perhaps he sustained an injury or testicular development issues earlier in life. Maybe there’s a blockage or other urological condition that can be repaired.
Infertility could also be caused by the way he’s living – activities like smoking, hot tubs, mountain biking, poor diet, and limited exercise can have a big impact on the body’s ability to produce sperm.
And it’s becoming a big problem. Recent studies have shown that sperm counts are taking a deep plunge around the globe, dropping by over 50% over the past 40 years. The rise in obesity and poor lifestyle habits is likely at least partially to blame for the crisis.
3. There are things you can start doing today to impact your sperm production and chances of conception
Gentlemen, your body wants (and needs) to produce sperm. Fertility is a numbers game, and no matter where you are in your journey the best thing you can do is stack the odds in your favor.
A few small changes to your health and habits can go a long way in helping your testicles do their job.
Avoiding excessive heat, eating more nutrient-rich foods, exercising more regularly, dropping a few pounds, and taking other steps that are generally good for your overall health and fitness can really give your sperm a boost. If you’re on medications, testosterone treatment, or steroids, talk with your doctor ASAP because certain treatments can be detrimental for sperm production.
If you’re curious if your current health and habits could be putting you at risk for infertility, a great place to start is our Trak: Sperm Health & Fertility app. It’s totally free, and will take you through an extensive risk assessment questionnaire to identify your potential risks and give you some recommendations on how to boost your fertility, including maximizing your sperm production. We designed and built it with some of the top urologists who specialize in male reproductive health and prestigious fertility centers like IRMS to make sure the insights and guidance you receive are accurate and reliable.
Guys, you may not know that there are fertility resources made just for you. Don’t go about it alone. Trak and IRMS dedicated to helping you throughout this process by providing the basic insights and tools that you need on your path to fatherhood.
For more information on male infertility causes and treatment options, visit here or for a consult with an IRMS physician at any of their seven New Jersey locations, please give us a call or fill out our contact form.