Should Men in Their 20s Care About Fertility?
It’s important for men to understand that infertility affects both sexes. In the United States, cases of infertility between couples are chalked up to one of three possibilities. One-third of cases are considered “male factor” infertility, while one-third is contributed to “female factor” infertility and the remaining third remains unexplained. That means that besides for unexplained causes, infertility is equally attributed to men and women.
That being said, there is a strong case for men to proactively care for their fertility, even when family planning is not in the near future. It’s important for both men and women to start caring about fertility in their 20s and early 30s, regardless of if they plan to conceive in the next few years. Fertility care is an investment, not just for your overall health, but for your future family planning goals.
How can men take care of their fertility?
• STD prevention – STDs and STIs can potentially lead to fertility issues. They can cause infection, scarring, and obstruction problems that can make conception difficult without care from a fertility specialist. Please take common sense precautions before, during, and after sexual intercourse, including proper condom usage.
• Poor lifestyle habits – Tobacco use, illegal drugs, heavy alcohol consumption, and obesity are all known contributors to fertility issues, in addition to being harmful to overall health. If you have concerns that your BMI is high, you should speak with your provider in order to assess proper dietary and exercise habits.
• Exercise routines – High intensity workouts and training can have a negative effect on a man’s fertility. A man’s sperm count is affected by the amount of testosterone in his system, so a low sperm count could be attributed to an extreme fitness routine. Your provider can advise on a safe workout intensity that fits your lifestyle.
• Injury prevention – We recognize that many injuries tend to be completely accidental, and therefore impossible to predict. That being said, a certain level of caution regarding activities that risk groin injury is a smart outlook to have. Practicing safety and caution during extreme sports or wearing a cup during athletic activities is advised. Testicular trauma can often be prevented when precautions are taken.
Of course, even while taking these precautions, male infertility may still occur. We invite you to learn more about male infertility risk factors.