There are lots of common misconceptions about male fertility and lots of men are still under the impression that infertility is largely a female problem.
But male infertility accounts for 40-50% of infertility and affects approximately 7% of all men.
Raising awareness of male infertility and dispelling some of the myths that surround it is important. Common misconceptions surrounding male fertility include ‘if you have more sex, you will run out of sperm' and ‘masturbation makes you infertile' - neither of these statements are true FYI.
The frequency of sex or the number of times a man ejaculates has nothing to do with fertility and does not decrease the amount of sperm, or sperm count.
It'd be fair to say that some men believe that they don't need a fertility test because:
- Only people over 40 have fertility issues
Wrong – people can have fertility problems at any age. There's a general misconception that older men are more susceptible to infertility, but this doesn't mean that young men are automatically excluded from having these issues.
- You can get your partner pregnant by having sex every day
Wrong – having sex every day doesn’t necessarily make it easier for you to get pregnant. Smart sex is strongly encouraged if you’re a couple trying to get pregnant – that means you should try and have sex when your partner is ovulating.
- Keeping your testicles cool will increase fertility
Wrong – keeping your testicles cool does not increase fertility. Increased scrotal temperature does decrease sperm volume, but it doesn’t mean that cold temperatures will reverse this or improve sperm volume. It is wise not to expose your testicles to a lot of heat, for example, by over-using of hot tubs or saunas.
- Male infertility doesn’t really exist – it’s a woman’s issue
Wrong – oh so wrong! Half of all fertility problems lie with the man. Approximately 10% of couples each year face fertility issues and that number is rising. Seeking medical advice for fertility issues resolves nearly all cases, so it's very important that if you're a man and you've been trying to conceive with your partner for over a year, you get a fertility test.
- The bigger your penis, the more fertile you are
Wrong – the size of your penis has nothing to do with sperm count or fertility.
- If you wear your pants too right, you will kill sperm
This one is relatively true. Tight clothing raises the temperature of your testicles which does affect sperm. Sperm motility declines when the environment is not conducive. Men in a tropical climate, compared to men in cooler climates have a lower sperm count on average, some studies show.
So, to reiterate, if you're a male, and you've been having regular, unprotected sex with your partner for over a year and you haven't managed to conceive, then it's time to speak to your doctor – and don't be worried! The final myth is that a man with fertility problems is less of a man or less masculine. That is totally false. Fertility problems affect men of all sizes, colours, creeds and background.
Seeing a doctor is not a negative move, all it means is that whatever is preventing the creation of a baby can be quickly resolved.
Want to know more about the signs and symptoms that could indicate fertility problems? Download our Common Signs of Infertility eBook!