5 things that hurt male fertility

Male fertility can be affected by a number of things. If you or your partner think that male infertility could be affecting your attempts to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider and undergo fertility testing to figure out what’s going on.

Here are some of the more common factors that can affect the quality and quantity of a man’s sperm.

Extra weight

Being overweight or obese can affect fertility in a couple of ways. First, the extra weight can affect your hormonal balance and how hormones circulate in the body, which affects sperm production because the correct levels of testosterone and Folicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) are critical for healthy sperm to form. Being overweight can also cause the testicles to be too warm, which can damage sperm as well.

Some medications

There are a number of drugs that contribute to male fertility problems. These include replacement testosterone, antifungal medication, chemotherapy, and medications taken for ulcers, as well as others. It’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider if you or your partner are prescribed any medications to find out if they might be presenting any problems for your fertility journey.


The amount by which stress impacts male fertility isn’t yet completely clear from research. But studies definitely show that high levels of psychological stress negatively impact testosterone secretion. The TTC journey can be stressful in and of itself, so finding ways to relieve stress will make things easier and potentially more successful.

Smoking cigarettes

Cigarettes damage sperm shape and movement, which causes men who smoke to have lower sperm counts. Quitting cigarettes isn’t easy, but it will improve just about every aspect of someone’s health, including their fertility!

Heavy alcohol consumption

Alcohol affects fertility, too. Regular heavy drinking and binge drinking both decrease sexual and reproductive function in men. Reducing alcohol consumption or abstaining from it altogether is a great way to improve the odds of a positive pregnancy test.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Male infertility: causes.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Apr 11 2015. Web.
  • “Drugs and male fertility.” ClevelandClinic. Cleveland Clinic, May 22 2013. Web.
  • Vinod H. Nargund. “Effects of psychological stress on male fertility.” Nature Reviews Urology. 12, 373-382. Web. Jun 9 2015.
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