Ten Proven Sperm Killers

There are so many things that can go wrong with conception it's a wonder any children are born at all. Just a few of those things to consider are infertile sperm, poor quality eggs, and sperm allergies. One in every ten couples is infertile and male infertility is responsible for 30% of these cases.

Women release around 300-400 eggs during their lifetimes, while men produce millions of sperm each day. However, there are many external factors that can affect sperm health and since it takes two and a half months for sperm to mature, if you damage them at any point along the way, you can render yourself at least temporarily infertile. Here are ten factors you might not have known about that can affect sperm:

High temperatures—the reason that the human testes are located external to the body is to keep them cooler than body temperature. Once the testicles reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit, sperm production stops. Any time sperm production is interrupted, it can take months for sperm to rebound.

Reversible Effects

Moist Heat—a study published back in 2007 found that even spending 30 minutes in a hot tub or Jacuzzi can cause a temporary reduction in sperm production. These effects are reversible but can take many months to show improvement.

Fever—San Francisco infertility specialist Kurt Wharton, MD says, "When I know that a man hasn’t been in a hot tub, smoking dope, or wearing bicycle pants, and that the collection technique for his semen analysis was good, my first question is, 'Were you sick three months ago?'" He's often right on the mark eliciting an admission that the guy had the flu a few months back. A 2003 study showed that sperm concentration can suffer a decrease of some 35% after a fever. It may take a great deal of time for sperm to recover.

Laptops—researchers at State University of New York at Stony Brook found a direct association between the use of laptops and an increased temperature of the scrotum of up to around 35 degrees, depending on positioning. The increase in heat has a known adverse effect on spermatogenesis, so if you're trying to get pregnant, leave the laptop on your desk.

Constrictive Environment

Briefs—they don't make a tremendous difference, but if you've got a low sperm count, choose boxers over briefs for best fertility. You don't want to create a constricted environment for the testes, where sperm production occurs.

Varicose veins—around 15% of the male population have varicoceles or varicose veins on the scrotum, often in the left testicle. If a man's sperm count is low, your physician may recommend a repair.

Cell phones—a 2008 study showed that high cell phone usage leads to lowered sperm counts, motility, and morphology.  Better to keep your phone in your briefcase rather than in your pocket, to limit radiation exposure.

Reduced Function

Obesity—obese men have reduced testicular function and lowered sperm counts according to one 2009 study carried out by the World Health Organization.

Party animal lifestyle—if you smoke, whether tobacco or marijuana, and indulge in alcohol, avoid all of them while trying to conceive. All of these affect sperm to one degree or another.

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