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Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after more than twelve months trying and affects approximately the 15 percent of couples. Within that percentage, between the 30 and 35 percent is due to male causes, the same percentage to female causes and the rest to both or to unknown reasons. However, male infertility has long been a taboo subject for men and also for women.
Precisely for this reason, the subject has been the object of the creation of many myths, some true and others false. For this reason, Dr. Alberto Pacheco, director of the IVI Andrology Laboratory, has answered the ten most common questions that men ask him in the consultation when having children, with the aim of dismantling the myths that normally , are perpetuated on the male fertility.
1- Male infertility is a psychological problem. FAKE
In the vast majority of cases, it is not. Basically, it is a physical problem, which is caused either by poor testicular function, or by anatomical or urological problems of another type. When it is due to an alteration of the first type, this usually causes there to be fewer sperm than normal in the ejaculate, a production of sperm with functional alterations (such as low sperm mobility, for example) or even a total absence of them . Even so, in a percentage of men there may be psychological problems that prevent or hinder a correct sexual relationship. An example is erection problems.
2. Some medications can cause infertility. SURE
Indeed, there are certain drugs, especially drugs used to treat cancer, which partially or permanently alter testicular function and, therefore, sperm production. Currently, there are means for cancer patients to freeze their sperm before chemotherapy so that they are not affected.
3. Sexual abstinence improves fertility. SURE
It is true that sexual abstinence, depending on its duration, influences the quantity and quality of sperm present in the ejaculate. When abstinence is less than a day, ejaculates can be generated with a lower number of sperm, while prolonged abstinence (those of more than a week) can cause a decrease in their mobility. Therefore, to analyze the sperm quality of a man by means of a semen analysis, the World Health Organization recommends doing it after a period of abstinence of between two and seven days.
4. The increased temperature of the testicles affects fertility. SURE
The testicles are separated from the rest of the body, united only by the scrotal bag, precisely to maintain a temperature two degrees lower than that of the rest. For this reason, the prolonged and constant increase in temperature in the testicles, such as by the habitual use of tight underwear or by constant exposure to heat for work or professional reasons, affects the production of sperm.
5. Diet or lifestyle influence fertility. SURE
High consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, as well as poor eating habits, significantly affect fertility, reducing not only the amount of sperm but also its quality. Similarly, there are certain foods or nutrients with high antioxidant activity (such as red fruits and vitamins C and E, among others) that can contribute to some extent to improve sperm quality. However, from a scientific point of view it is difficult to quantify the specific effect of each of these nutrients in increasing male fertility.
6. Some risk sports can cause infertility. FAKE
Although it can happen, it doesn't have to happen. The practice of these risk sports or any other physical activity can only cause infertility when it causes damage or injury to the testicles or the male reproductive system. Exceptionally, it can occur in professional athletes, as in the case of marathon runners or other highly competitive professionals, in which there are conclusive studies on the relationship.
7. Stress influences the production of sperm. SURE
To a certain extent it can influence. Stress situations have an impact on hormonal activity, and this in turn regulates testicular function, which can actually decrease sperm production.
8. Age is a determining factor in fertility. SURE
Age in men is not as decisive as in the case of women, since sperm production is maintained until quite advanced ages. Even so, it is described that, with increasing age, the production of sperm decreases in men. In addition, there are certain functional or genetic parameters that can also be affected with age.
9. Infertility is inherited. SURE
When infertility is of genetic origin, as in mutations or microdeletions that affect genes related to sperm production, fertility problems can be inherited, and in turn, transmitted to children.
10. Vasectomy makes you infertile. FAKE
After vasectomy, sperm does not come out in ejaculation, which eliminates almost 100 percent the possibility of pregnancy, but you are still fertile. It is a simple and very effective birth control technique. The only drawback is that reversal is not always effective in all men.
Thanks to the doctor Alberto Pacheco, director of the IVI Andrology Laboratory.
You can read more articles similar to 10 myths about male infertility, in the category of On-site fertility problems.