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Top 5 environmental factors that may impact sperm count

According to a bulletin published by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the male partner contributes toward subfertility 40% of the time. In 20% of cases, male factor is the only cause of infertility. Certain lifestyle and environmental factors can have a negative impact on male fertility. It is therefore important to discuss some of the factors that can affect sperm counts.

  1. Hot tubs and saunas. Numerous studies have examined the potential negative impact of increased scrotal temperature on semen parameters and fertility. To date, the only reproducible data have implicated the immersion of the scrotum and testes in the type of hot water usually associated with hot tub use. Investigators have observed a true increase in scrotal temperature and subsequent significant changes in seminal parameters and reduced fertility. Various other forms of heat exposure have been studied including the use of saunas, prolonged sitting while driving or at the office, and the use of laptops and cell phones. Such studies, although suggestive of a possible negative impact, have not provided conclusive evidence to recommend limitations in exposure.

  2. Second- hand cigarette smoke. Does second-hand cigarette smoking affect sperm counts? Cigarette smoking is clearly associated with decreased fertility in women. The impact of cigarettes on male subfertility is less clear. Neither has second-hand smoke been observed to impact on seminal parameters and subsequent fertility. So the answer is NO.

  3. Tight underwear. Does wearing tight underwear reduce fertility? Does wearing boxers versus tights make a difference. They do NOT. The theory that the type of underwear worn by males could be a cause of subfertility has also been disproved.

  4. What about excessive heat at work? The potential negative impact on male fertility of excessive heat in the workplace (e.g. in the case of welders, bakers, and foundry workers) has been studied and no conclusive association has been found.

  5. Excessive sunlight. Excessive sunlight exposure has NOT been found to be associated with male subfertility.


Male factor Top 5

Patty Paganucci

Patty Paganucci

Patty has worked for InVia fertility Specialists since its inception in 2002. She has 16 years experience in her field. She has an Associate's Degree in Nursing. She is our phlebotomist at our Hoffman Estates office. She also is our surgical coordiator


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