Lifestyle advice given by doctors to men diagnosed with infertility should be radically overhauled, says latest research. Current guidelines warn infertile men about the dangers of smoking, alcohol consumption and recreational drug use, as well as the risks of being overweight and wearing tight underwear. However, a team of scientists from the universities of Manchester and Sheffield has found that many common lifestyle choices make little difference to male fertility, based on how many swimming sperm men produce, the journal Human Reproduction reports. The study recruited 2,249 men from 14 fertility clinics around Britain and asked them to fill out detailed questionnaires about their lifestyle.
The information was then compared between 939 men who ejaculated low numbers of swimming sperm and a control group of 1,310 men who produced higher numbers.The research found that men who ejaculated low numbers of swimming sperm were 2.5 times more likely to have had testicular surgery, twice as likely to be of black ethnicity, and 1.3 times more likely to be in manual work, not wear boxer shorts, or not had a previous conception.
Surprisingly, men’s use of recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol, as well as their weight measured by their body mass index (BMI), had little effect, according to a Manchester and Sheffield statement. Andrew Povey, from the University of Manchester’s School of Community Based Medicine, said: “Despite lifestyle choices being important for other aspects of our health, our results suggest that many lifestyle choices probably have little influence on how many swimming sperm they ejaculate.”
“This potentially overturns much of the current advice given to men about how they might improve their fertility and suggests that many common lifestyle risks may not be as important as we previously thought,” said Povey.