Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Male Fertility Myths

Male infertility can result from many different reasons from abnormal formation of sperm to failure of sperm – egg interactions. Medically, the definition of infertility is the inability to conceive a child after twelve months of active or regular unprotected sex.

Many myths surrounding male fertility included ‘if you have more sex, you will exhaust your sperm supply’ or ‘if men masturbate, they will have less sperm’. This is not true. The frequency of sex or number of times a man ejaculates does not decrease the amount of sperm, or sperm count. In fact, a man may lose all sensations and sexual functions due to a spinal cord injury but he still has a normal sperm count.

Fertility Myths and Facts
Myth: Only people over 40 have fertility issues.
Fact:People can face fertility issues at any age.  Varicoceles, damage to the sex organs, and chronic diseases all affect fertility.  This common fertility myth probably came from good, well-intentioned advice–older men are more susceptible to infertility, according to several studies.  This does not mean young men are automatically excluded from having these issues, however.

Myth: The best way to conceive is by having sex every day.
Fact:Regular sexual intercourse actually decreases a couple's ability to conceive.  According to Sharon Perkins (author of Infertility for Dummies), having too much sex depletes sperm volume, decreasing a man's ability to reproduce.  This fertility myth was probably based on common sense; having more sex would seem to increase conception rate.  It does more harm than good, however.

Another fact: Want to increase your fertility?  Try smart sex instead.  Only have sex when your partner is ovulating, as determined by a physician, and have sex every other day to maximize sperm volume.  This maximizes your reproductive potential during this period (and it may lead to a more satisfying sex life).

Myth: Keeping testicles cold helps you conceive.
Fact: Along with being painful and potentially dangerous, keeping the testicles cold does not increase fertility.  Increased scrotal temperature decreases sperm volume, but this does not mean cold temperatures improve this rate.  Taking care to keep cool before intercourse is the best method for increasing your reproductive rate.

Myth: More semen increases conception time.
Fact: Many believe bigger volumes of semen increases conception time, but this is actually a myth.  The fact is the quality of semen is just as important as volume.  Combining both factors maximizes a couple's ability to conceive. 

Myth: Infertility doesn't really exist.  Just relax and you'll get pregnant!
Fact: This myth is believed by most couples.  It is not true, however.  10% of couples each year face fertility issues, and that number is rising.  Getting medical help for fertility issues resolves nearly all cases, so it is important not to ignore it.

Myth: Infertility is a woman's issue.
Fact: Half of all fertility issues are a man's issue.  Male infertility affects half of all couples, but many do not report it because of a lack of information. 

Myth: Stress causes infertility.
Fact: Stress affects sex drive, but it does not affect infertility.  Getting rid of stress will not increase fertility either–it is a medical issue, not a psychological one.

 ‘viagra increases sperm count’ - Viagra does not increase sperm count but helps a man maintain or get an erection.

‘the bigger your penis, the more sperms’ - Size of the penis has nothing to do with sperm count or fertility.
‘wear your pants too tight and you will kill the sperms' - This one is not a myth, so it is true. Temperature affects the sperm’s well being and it thrives in an environment that’s between 74 – 7 degrees cooler than our body temperature. Sperm motility declines when the environment is not conducive. Men in tropical climate, compared to their male counterparts in cooler climates, have a lower sperm count on average. A normal count is about 20 million sperms or more.

More facts:

Male infertility can be caused by any of the following:
  • too much heat around the testicles (affecting sperm count)
  • high levels of free radicals (example, men who smoke in excess)
  • taking excessive alcohol
  • too much smoking
  • stress
  • childhood infections like mumps that may affect the testes and sperm count
  • undescended testes where the testes is in a abnormal position – stays too high in the groin area
  • genetic abnormalities
  • obesity, causing testosterone/ ostrogen imbalance
  • impotence
  • medical history with prolonged illness like liver or kidney failure
  • some drugs and medication may affect the hormones and formation of sperm
  • trauma to the groin due to accidents or sports injury
  • varicceles – a congestions of veins on top of the testes (increases temperature of the testes, affecting sperm count)
  • blocked epididymes caused by scarring like after infection with Chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • untreated low grade infection with inflamed cells in the semen
  • prostate cancer
  • anti-cancer chemotherapy
  • immoderacy sperm antibodies
  • retrograde ejaculation where the sperm flow backwards into the bladder instead of being ejaculated from the penis during an orgasm and they would be lost of discharged next time the bladder is emptied

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