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Male-related Infertility – Interview with Body&Soul

Did you know male-related infertility contributes to half of all couples who fail to conceive?
And the average sperm count is continuously declining.

Leah Hechtman for Body & Soul
JUNE 9, 20228:49AM

Male-related infertility contributes to 50 per cent of cases in couples who fail to conceive.
Fertility clinician Leah Hechtman walks us through the concerning rate of infertility in men and the expanding treatment options offering support for couples struggling to conceive.

Infertility is a heartbreaking challenge that one in six Australian couples of reproductive age experience. Issues with male reproductive performance are often overlooked as the root cause of infertility in couples, however, if you are planning for a baby, it is crucial to understand how this could be affecting your chances of falling pregnant.

Male-related infertility contributes to 50 per cent of cases in couples who fail to conceive, with sperm count declining by 50-60 per cent between 1973 and 2011 in Western male populations.

In an age of concerning infertility statistics, highly respected fertility clinician, naturopath, author and educator, Leah Hechtman, sheds light on compelling findings broadening treatment options for countless men seeking fertility support.

While there are several causes of infertility, the sperm factor plays a major role.
The trend to start a family later in life is becoming more common with people intentionally delaying parenthood to focus on their careers. Whilst the female body clock is frequently addressed as a concern for delaying parenthood due to the natural and inevitable decline in fecundity (monthly chance of conception), the age of the male partner has a significant impact on reproduction as it can lower the quality of the sperm.

“As men age, they are exposed to more environmental pollutants and are at an increased risk of increased oxidative damage to sperm,” Hechtman says.

It comes as no surprise that the way we choose to live and behave can positively or negatively impact our ability to conceive. Male fertility is largely affected by lifestyle choices and if men are exposed to too many environmental toxins or stress, this can negatively impact their sperm quality. Excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking and sleep deprivation can all play a role in the morphology (shape), count, and motility (movement) of sperm.

If you’re feeling stressed, it may mean that your sperm cells are feeling it too. Oxidative stress is a possible cause of male infertility and can be exacerbated by increased stress levels. Studies have found a link between psychological stress and infertility. These factors can lead to decreased testosterone, lowered sperm count, abnormal sperm production and decreased sperm motility.

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