Posted: 16 Nov 2010
Author: London Sperm Bank

How to preserve your fertility

There are many more environmental factors that can affect male fertility.  The factors include:

  • endocrine disrupters
  • toxic pollutants
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • zinc deficiency
  • alcoholism
  • smoking
  • anabolic steroid use
  • Ionising radiation

Endocrine disrupters are chemicals present in the environment that, by virtue of their ability to adversely affect the endocrine (hormonal) system, cause health consequences. Several industrial pollutants can affect fertility, as can smoking and alcohol use. Some of these toxins can cause reproductive disorders, neurological disease, immune system disorders and cancer.

How can I preserve my fertility?

1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

2. Don't smoke or use recreational drugs.

3. Don't drink alcohol, or keep alcohol consumption within recommended limits.

4. Try to avoid exposure to industrial and occupational hazards by following safety procedures and wearing protective clothing when provided. Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide information on occupational health risks and to ensure employees have a safe and healthy working environment.

5. Avoid exposure to sexually transmitted diseases by adopting safer sexual practices, such as using condoms and reducing your number of sexual partners.

6. Treat underlying medical conditions. Untreated diabetes may lead to infertility, specifically causing retrograde ejaculation. Even if you're without symptoms, you might want to get your blood sugars tested if you have been diagnosed with retrograde ejaculation. Up to one third of people with diabetes are unaware that they have the disease.

Additionally, an untreated infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract can cause infertility in men. For example, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may lead to reduced sperm motility, and repeated STD infection may lead to scarring, which can block the passage of semen. Some infections have no symptoms besides infertility.

Other medical conditions that can lead to infertility are thyroid disease, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, Cushing's syndrome, and anaemia. These diseases are also commonly missed. For example, it's not uncommon for someone to have thyroid problems for years before getting a diagnosis.

Be sure to get a well-check with your primary care doctor before you start trying to conceive, and if you suspect something's not quite right with how you're feeling, voice these concerns.

7. Reduce your soy intake: Too much soy may impact your sperm counts, according to a research study that looked at eating habits.  The study found men who ate high amounts of soy had lower sperm counts than men who did not. In fact, men who had the highest soy intake had 41 million/ml less sperm than men who did not eat soy foods.

8. The causes of stress in modern life are legion and concerns over fertility or failure to conceive are very important causes of stress. If you are concerned that you have a fertility problem, it is sensible to seek advice from your family doctor.