Male infertility is a very common problem with one in 20 Australian men having a problem with their sperm quality and one in six couples having problems with infertility.
What is lesser known, though, is male infertility is the number one cause for infertility in this country.
Although it’s often thought of that infertility is a female problem, it’s actually the problem with the man’s sperm that counts for 40% of infertility and, according to Repromed’s Professor Kelton Tremellen, plays a role in perhaps another 10%.
Video: To answer your questions about male fertility, Professor Tremellen had a chat with us about some of the causes and what can be done if a couple is wanting to start a family but have some concerns.
“There are many and varied causes for male infertility,” Professor Tremellen says. “There‘s some lifestyle issues that can cause it; obesity or being overweight being one. It stresses the sperm and we advise men to try to keep a healthy weight. Other causes can be a diet low in fruit and vegetables, smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol, too much caffeine. These are all lifestyle factors that cause infertility.”
While lifestyle issues can play a part in infertility, there are other causes, which may be stopping you from having a family.
“There are medical causes, like genetic problems, testicular cancers, and other blockages, which can cause male infertility,” Professor Tremellen says.
And while we’ve got him, Professor Tremellen took the time to give some helpful advice for how men can keep their swimmers healthy.
“Heat can affect fertility. The testicles are outside the body hanging down to keep cool because sperm production optimally occurs at 35 degrees, not at the body’s core temperature of 37 degrees. Long, hot baths, saunas, and even vigorous exercise wearing tight clothing like lycra can have a negative effect on sperm production,” Professor Tremellen says.
“There are other issues like having a laptop on your lap, which can heat up the scrotal area and we advise not to do that.”
While we know women’s fertility starts to decline in their early thirties, men’s fertility also starts to decline with age.
“Sperm count slowly reduces over time, but more worrying, sperm DNA damage increases over time. There have been studies linking older fathers with an increase in abnormalities in their children. For example, dwarfism is more common in children of older men, as is autism and schizophrenia. So we recommend women and men have their children as early as possible,” Professor Tremellen says.
“It’s important to note that just because you’ve had a child before, doesn’t mean you are still fertile because medical conditions can happen which can change your status.”
If there is any suspicion you have a fertility issue, Professor Tremellen says a sperm analysis is necessary, which is done in the lab.
“From this we can get an assessment of what the fertility potential is, or whether that couple would be better served by accessing fertility treatment,” he says.
By visiting a Repromed clinic, you can speak with a specialist, have a fertility assessment there in the lab and get advice on your next steps to starting your family.
Get in touch with Repromed today to get expert advice and care.