Infertility Risk Factors for Men

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Many couples often think that fertility problems are usually found in women.  However, 50 percent of fertility problems are found in men.

To determine if your partner has an increased risk of infertility, please consult our Fertility Risk Factors for Men table below.  Just as with women, if a man has an increased risk of infertility, there are steps he can take to preserve his own ability to conceive a child.

Please use the Fertility Risk Factors for Men table as a guideline for an open discussion with your doctor.

Knowing the facts can help men and women preserve their fertility and increase the likelihood of conceiving a child.  You may also want to review Fertility Risk Factors for Women.

Fertility Risk Factors for Men

Risk Why It’s a Risk What You Can Do
Age A man’s fertility begins to decline after age 35. Think about whether you want to have a family and try to factor in other life plans, such as career, military service and education.
Exposure to chemicals Commonly used pesticides and industrial solvents, as well as radiation may harm sperm production. Avoid exposure to these agents if possible.  See an urologist for a semen analysis.
Exposure to heat Prolonged or repeated exposure to heat impairs sperm production and motility. Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Wear loose fitting undergarments such as boxer shorts.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) If left untreated, STDs can damage the delicate organs that transport sperm. Use a condom to protect yourself from STDs. If you have had an STD, be sure to tell your doctor.
Smoking Use of tobacco products lowers sperm count, hampers sperm motility, and causes some sperm to be abnormally shaped. Talk with your doctor about an effective plan to stop smoking.
Prescription drug use Some prescription drugs can cause infertility, including medications to treat heart disease and high blood pressure. Provide your doctor with a complete list of medications you are taking and ask specifically if they can cause infertility.
Varicocele Varicose veins in the scrotum, or variocele, can lead to abnormal sperm production and motility. See a urologist  for a diagnosis and treatment.
Surgery of reproductive organs A vasectomy causes sterility by cutting the tubes that move the sperm. A urologic microsurgeon can perform a vasectomy reversal.
Cancer treatment Radiation and chemotherapy treatments frequently damage sperm and sperm-producing cells. Men about to undergo cancer treatment may want to investigate sperm banking.

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