Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist, Banafsheh Kashani, MD, Addresses Top Fertility Concerns for Men, a “Sperm Count Crisis,” COVID-19 Vaccine, and More
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 28, 2021--
Despite 50% of all infertility cases being male-factored, a large education gap associated with male fertility exists and there is a lack of health services for diagnoses and treatment, stigmas associated with male infertility, as well as recent concerns over a “sperm count crisis” and whether the COVID-19 vaccine can decrease sperm count. In recognition of Men’s Health Month, Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG, board certified OB/GYN and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist clarifies common questions and advises on what men need to know to preserve their fertility.
“Whether or not you are thinking of starting a family, it’s important to understand daily lifestyle choices and important factors that affect male fertility,” says Kashani. “Male infertility can lead to struggles with mental health, socialization, relationships, and other elements that impact quality of life. It’s best to consider your habits now, as well as understand fertility facts, to prepare yourself for your healthiest future.”
Dr. Kashani clarifies important questions for men to be aware of when starting or growing a family:
1. What factors affect male fertility? Thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and its potential impact on male fertility?
There are many factors that can affect male fertility. These include lifestyle factors such as smoking cigarettes, marijuana, excessive alcohol use (such as binge drinking), excessive caffeine intake or use or use of illicit drugs. In addition, diet has an impact. Highly processed foods and foods high in animal products (like red meat) have been associated with a negative impact on male fertility. As far as the COVID-19 vaccine, to date there are no studies that have demonstrated a negative effect on male fertility. In fact, studies have shown no changes in semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, or total motile sperm counts after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
2. Which lifestyle choices support healthy sperm and fertility?
A diet that is balanced in whole foods (fruits and vegetables) is helpful for fertility. Particularly, foods rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, pomegranate and acai are beneficial for male fertility. Exercise is also beneficial as it increases blood flow to all organs including the testicles, which is where sperm is produced. In addition, adequate sleep is also necessary for appropriate sperm production.
3. Is there really a sperm count crisis?
Although there are some studies that have noted a subtle decline in sperm counts for men, these small changes do not account for a “sperm count crisis.” Rather, it’s important to recognize there are environmental factors that can cause an alteration in male fertility, and to be mindful of making the appropriate lifestyle modifications to improve fertility.
4. Does male fertility decrease with age the way female fertility does?
There are some studies that demonstrate a decline in male fertility with age. Particularly, there are changes in the DNA within sperm, and this can be assessed by a test that measures sperm DNA fragmentation. These changes in fertility are not as drastic as they are in females, but nevertheless, it is best to conceive at a younger age. Additionally, there are some genetic disorders that are associated with increased paternal age.
5. What can one do in the bedroom to up the chances of conception?
Frequent intercourse or ejaculations can be beneficial for fertility in some cases. There are no positions that have been demonstrated to be more beneficial than others when trying to conceive. What is beneficial is finding a position that can please both partners, as an orgasm can help the movement of sperm into the reproductive tract of a female and increase the chance of conceiving. Lastly, there are certain lubricants that are helpful for conceiving, such as Pre-Seed Fertility-Friendly Lubricant. Sperm motility remains intact with the use of Pre-Seed, compared to other lubricants that can hinder it, and when used during a female’s fertile window, it can help increase the chance of conception.
6. What does one need to know about consulting a fertility specialist/fertility testing when trying to conceive?
If you have been trying to conceive for more than a year (or six months if you are over 35 years old), it is recommended to consult a fertility specialist. The first step is making the appointment—this tends to be the hardest part. Once an appointment is made, a fertility specialist will likely order a semen analysis to assess the semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility (how well the sperm swims) and sperm morphology (appearance of the shape of the sperm). If there are any abnormalities on the analysis or if there is anything within the medical history that is concerning, further testing such as laboratory testing or imaging may be ordered to better assess the male reproductive organs.
“Remember that general rules to support good health, such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, reducing stress whenever possible, etc. are all helpful in preserving fertility. If you have specific questions or concerns, do not hesitate to discuss them with a healthcare provider,” adds Kashani.
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PUB: 06/28/2021 04:30 PM/DISC: 06/28/2021 04:32 PM