The following fertility post is sponsored, but all thoughts are my own.
As a guy, rarely am I talking about fertility. In general, infertility is a subject that isn’t talked about enough. And whenever I do think about both fertility and infertility, I instantly think it’s a woman’s issue: eggs aren’t dropping, it may be a hostile environment for sperm, uterine wall isn’t doing what it should, etc. And this is likely the same case for most men. But it’s a team effort, right? Why should all responsibility be on the woman? The truth is, it shouldn’t.
CCRM, one of the nation’s leading fertility treatment centers operating in 10 locations across the U.S. and Canada, recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans across the U.S., and over 40% of respondents believe that infertility isn’t widely discussed in our society because it’s a socially-taboo subject. But this week is National Infertility Awareness Week so I’ve decided to partner with CCRM. . This week and beyond, CCRM is encouraging people to speak more openly about infertility. As an issue that affects men and women equally, their mission is to remove the negative stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of prospective parents and help people feel comfortable opening up about fertility/family planning.
Below I’ve shared a list of four things I think all men should know about fertility. These insights are from Dr. Brian Levine, MD founding partner and practice director of CCRM New York.
Despite what many people think, 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. are impacted by infertility, so it’s time we normalize the conversation around this subject. Especially when it comes to men.
Did you know…
Exposing genitals to too much heat is among one of the top causes of reduced fertility in men. Sperm requires a precise environment – 4 degrees cooler than body temperature – which men often undermine. Below are some simple tips to help combat male infertility:
- Don’t wear restrictive underwear. Make sure you choose a pair loose enough to let your boys breathe
- Take breaks. Frequent use of saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, hot baths can impair sperm production so be sure to take breaks
- Get tested—A semen analysis is essentially the cornerstone of male fertility testing. Men should know 40% of fertility cases can be traced to a problem in the man. Fertility is just as much about the male as it is the female. A semen analysis is a super simple screening test that helps evaluate a man’s fertility
- Don’t ignore unusual changes or symptoms on your body—one of the leading causes of male infertility is a vein that grows on the outside of the scrotum called a varicocele. These can happen to any man at any age. The good news is varicocele veins are easily correctable. If you notice something unusual on your body, like a varicocele vein, tell your doctor – don’t ignore it.
- Marijuana has a profound effect on male fertility—According to research, marijuana reduces sperm count and decreases testosterone production, ultimately reducing your chances of conception. Avoid marijuana if you’re trying to conceive.
Thankfully, saunas, steam rooms, and public hot tubs freak me out. But those hot baths are nice and relaxing.
Many don’t believe that men are the cause of infertility issues. But 40% of cases can be traced to a problem in a man. So what are you waiting for guys?
When we were trying for our third I was thinking of unusual changes I was having: mood swings, tired, never wanting sex. These where things I felt, as a guy, were not normal. I went to a doctor to get checked because I wanted to make sure I was okay. Turns out I had very low testosterone. It was a simple fix, and number three was perfect.
I understand that infertility for the egg/sperm donor can be scary and complex, so CCRM aims to empower individuals and couples to make informed decisions that can positively impact their future.
As the industry’s leading pioneer in fertility science, research, and advancement, CCRM offers access to a national network of award-winning physicians, a full suite of fertility services, innovative technology, and cutting-edge labs. It specializes in the most advanced fertility treatments, with deep expertise with in vitro fertilization (IVF), fertility assessment, fertility preservation, genetic testing, third party reproduction, and egg donation.
Being National Infertility Awareness Week, I say we gather together and #LetsTalkFertility In the comments below, share your story of fertility and let’s get the conversation going.