What You Can Do at Home and Work to Avoid Fertility Dangers
You likely know the major reasons that guys struggle with fertility: Aging rears its head, or perhaps medical conditions or injuries make for a long, bumpy path to fatherhood. But these aren't the only enemies to a strong, mobile army of sperm. Environmental factors and even sneaky substances in certain products can present temporary or more long-lasting infertility in men. If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, avoid these fertility-altering situations and substances at both home and the office.
Your environment can have a profound effect on your fertility. With that in mind, you should always take precautions to limit your exposure to the following environmental factors if you're looking to start a family:
While you can't exactly control the weather, you can control just how often you're hanging out in the sweltering sun. Your scrotum is more than just a hangout for your testes. It's lower and away from the body to maintain a cooler temperature in which sperm can thrive. When it gets too hot, your sperm count can suffer dramatically. If you work outside, are doing some home improvements in the summer heat or just had a workout, it's time to cool yourself down.
An ice pack is a smart choice, but if that's a bit too much to take, try a lukewarm or cold shower or just strip down and head into the air conditioning.
Research has shown that close-range electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may lead to infertility. Sure, you don't want to hold a giant magnet to your package, but the real issue lies in electronics. Cellphones, tablets and laptops all emit low-level EMFs, and a vast majority of men use one or all of these devices daily.
To avoid this exposure, your best bet is to put your cellphone on a belt clip or keep it in your hand and away from your groin area. You should also sit at a desk or table when using a tablet or laptop and avoid setting these objects on your lap. It might be called a laptop, but if you're on the path to paternity, keep the device away from your genitals.
Sitting too long
Everyone loves a good sit, especially after a long day on your feet or a good workout. But sitting too long can wreak havoc on your fertility. Excessive sitting increases the temperature of your scrotum, which can in turn lower your sperm count.
If you work from home or in an office, take frequent breaks and walk around, or if you're an avid cyclist, do the same. Plus, sitting too long can actually lower your life expectancy by two years, giving you another reason to stand up and move around.
Products and chemicals to avoid
Certain products and chemicals have also been linked to infertility issues in men. The causes vary from product to product, so it's best to just avoid them altogether if possible. This list includes:
- Vaginal lubricants that are sperm-toxic. Make sure to select water-based options only.
- Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastics and resins. Opt for plastics that read "BPA Free."
- Phthalates, which are found in men's hygiene products. Avoid anything labeled "fragrance," such as aftershave, body wash, shampoo or cologne.
- Pesticides. If you're a home gardener, a lawn-care professional or a farmer, do your utmost to opt for natural pesticides. As an alternative, wear proper personal protective equipment.
Jobs with the highest risk for fertility dangers
Some jobs come with a higher risk of fertility dangers than others. If you're in one of these professions, take special care to ensure that you're not stymying your sperm.
- Truck driver (prolonged sitting)
- Lawn-care worker or farmer (exposure to pesticides)
- Manufacturing (exposure to certain chemicals)
- Remote worker (too much sitting)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if you're constantly sitting or exposed to the chemicals listed above, knowing the risks can help you make smarter choices regarding your fertility.
Minimization is the key
You can't live your life avoiding every little thing that might pose a risk to fertility. Instead of turning your entire life upside down, minimize exposure to environmental factors, chemicals and products that have been shown to affect fertility. You can easily maintain your daily life, and in a healthier way, while also giving your sperm their best shot at helping you become a father.