Boxers or Briefs: Myths and Facts about Men's Infertility
When a couple is diagnosed infertile, first thoughts often run to the woman. She's barren. She can't conceive. She's not a "complete" woman because she can't get pregnant. As nature would have it, problems with infertility are equally due to male and female conditions.
Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. Statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of the problems are caused by male conditions, another 35 to 40 percent by female conditions, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes.
Men's part in fertilization is quite amazing. About 200 million sperm are mixed with semen to form ejaculate. In most men, 15 to 45 million of these sperm are healthy enough to fertilize an egg, although only 400 survive after a man ejaculates. Only 40 of those 400 reach the vicinity of the egg, surviving the toxic environment of the semen and the hostile environment of the vagina. After another process called capacitation (an explosion that allows the remaining sperm to drill a hole through the tough outer layer of the egg), only one lone sperm reaches the egg for fertilization and conception.
Top Causes of Male Infertility
Even though specialists know the causes of male infertility, what's not always known is the cause behind the cause. There are many factors -- lifestyle, genetics, physiology -- that might explain low sperm count, slow sperm mobility, abnormal sperm shape, and so on.
Recent developments in treatment have made fertility possible for many men. But before undergoing any complicated procedures, there are some simple lifestyle changes that can better the odds of a successful conception. (These tips are helpful for any couple trying to conceive, whether or not infertility has been diagnosed.)
Have you ever heard the debate about whether men should wear boxers or briefs? It goes something like this: Briefs are tighter, so it's possible that they can raise your body temperature above the norm for sperm to survive. So if a guy wants to be really fertile, boxers are the way to go. Truth is, this has yet to be scientifically proven. But if you're trying to get pregnant, there's no harm in wearing loose clothing and staying out of hot tubs and saunas.
Since infertility affects one in 25 men these days, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude is the way to go if you're considering becoming a father.