Male infertility is on the rise, and doctors may finally have a first step at combatting it. A new study suggests that it’s the men’s lack of information (or, you could call it ignorance) that may be the culprit here. While women are researching the causes of infertiliy from the first signs of infertility, men have taken a back seat to self-education.
It’s widely known that half of infertile couples are due to male infertility, yet most men have little knowledge of the risk factors that contribute to the inability to conceive naturally.
In a study published in the November issue of the journal Human Reproduction, men could identify only about 50% of the potential risks and health conditions that could significantly affect their sperm count and fertility.
The Journal of Human Reproduction’s survey studied more than 700 Canadian men aged 18 to 50 with a range of ethnic backgrounds, income, and education, and asked them to identify factors associated with male infertility. Most of the men were able to identify the more common or well-known infertility risk factors such as cancer, smoking, and steroid use, but very few were able to identify lesser-known causes like obesity, frequent bicycling, and using portable computers on their lap.
According to Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz, a professor and researcher of psychiatry at McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital, “Men tend to ask fewer questions about their health when they go to the doctor.”
So the solution? Besides the obvious solution of encouraging men to do their own online research, men should look up male education programs, online groups geared towards male infertility, and group meetups that allow men to share their experiences together, and utilize their time with their doctors to inquire about infertility risk factors.