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Preventing male infertility is much easier than treating it. You can reduce the risk of being infertile by avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

Prevention is Better than Cure 

Often preventing infertility is much easier and better than treating it! What can you do to reduce the risk of being infertile ?

  • The biggest preventable danger to male fertility is due to uncontrolled sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia which can cause irreparable damage to the reproductive tract
  • Another important preventable cause of testicular damage in men is uncorrected undescended testes. Undescended testes should be surgically treated at an early age to prevent damage - preferably before the age of 2 years. This requires educating parents of young boys; and doctors as well
  • It may also be a good idea to immunise boys against mumps in childhood, thus preventing the ravage which mumps can cause to the testes in later life
  • Drugs - including alcohol, cocaine and marijuana - are all poisons. They can reduce sex drive; damage sperm production; and interfere with ovulation - and sometimes this damage is irreparable
  • Smoking tobacco also affects reproductive function - by depleting egg production; increasing the risk of PID; and lowering sperm counts. Often, the adverse effect is temporary, so that when these are stopped, the harmful effects on reproductive function are likely to be reversed
  • Occupational hazards can also decrease sperm counts
  • Many toxic drugs - including radiation, radioactive materials, anesthetic gases
  • Industrial chemicals such as lead, the pesticide DBCP and the pharmaceutical solvent ethylene oxide can reduce fertility by imparing sperm production
  • Intense exposure to heat in the workplace (for example, long-distance truck drivers exposed to engine heat; and men working in furnaces or in bakeries) can cause long-term and even permanent impairment of sperm production
You should be aware of these hazards and may need to control your exposure if fertility is a concern.
Read more-  Male Infertility- what every infertile man needs to know

The Infertility Trend 

Interestingly, many researchers have observed that male infertility is on the rise across the world. Whether this is due to exposure to toxic chemicals such as dioxins ( formed as a result of environmental pollution) , which cause disruption of the endocrine system; or to the stresses of modern day life remains unclear.

The Solution 

Things you can do to improve your sperm count:

  • Stop smoking, drinking or abusing drugs
  • Most doctors will advise that you take vitamins ( such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C), though no one knows if these really help or not
  • Some doctors will prescribe antioxidants ( such as CoQ) and selenium, though the effect of these on male fertility is still a contentious issue. They can be extremely expensive as well
  • Standard medical advice for donkey's years has been to keep the testes cool by taking  cold water showers and wearing loose underwear, though these are most probably old wife's ( or should it be old husbands?)  tales !
  • Certain drugs ( for example, salazopyrine which is used for treating ulcerative colitis) can suppress sperm counts, so if you are taking prescription medicines, ask your doctor about what their effect on sperm counts is
Finally, remember that one simple and enjoyable  way of increasing your chances of conception, is to have sex frequently - the more the sperm you deposit, the better your chances of having a baby. 

Read more- Male Infertility Tests Beyond the Semen Analysis


Preventing male infertility is much easier than treating it. You can reduce the risk of being infertile by avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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