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Factors Affecting Male Fertility

Male Age and Fertility
- The age of the male partner does not appear to matter much when it comes to fertility. Reasons for this include:

- All of a woman's eggs are present at birth. They can not divide or be "resupplied", whereas sperm are produced constantly after puberty in men.

- Eggs age over time, while new sperm are constantly coming off the production line.

- Sperm from older men can have a reduced fertilizing potential compared to younger men. However, this tends to be "all or none". If the sperm can fertilize eggs - we usually don't see poor embryo quality due to reduced sperm quality.

Sometimes older men have less interest in frequent intercourse, which can be a factor.

What affects Sperm Production? 
- Temperature:  Sperm are made in the testes which are in the scrotum. This is the body's way of keeping the testes slightly cooler than the rest of the body, which is best for making sperm. Tight clothing may keep the testes against the body and so warm them.  We have no evidence to show that cold baths or showers help but avoiding long times in saunas and other hot places might be sensible.

- Smoking:  You should stop smoking for optimum fertility (if you smoke).  We do not know how long it takes for an improvement to be seen.

- Alcohol:  More than 16 units per week (roughly 8 pints of normal strength beer or 16 small glasses of wine) may interfere with fertility.

- Drugs and medicines: Most do not interfere with sperm production, but some may do. These include: sulfasalazine, nitrofurantoin, tetracyclines, cimetidine, colchicine, allopurinol, some chemotherapy drugs, cannabis, cocaine, and anabolic steroids. If you have a low sperm count, tell a doctor if you take any drugs or medicines regularly.

Stress
This probably does not affect sperm production directly.  However it certainly can reduce libido and frequency of intercourse.  This will result in a failure to produce a conception.

Other illness
The body is extremely good at shutting down unnecessary activity to have all its resources to fight an infection.  Even a bad cold can reduce a sperm count.  This will normally be a temporary problem.

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