Are you trying to have a baby but pregnancy just isn’t happening? You may wonder if you or your partner has a medical problem that you need to check out. Take a few minutes to learn what infertility means and what can cause it. Then talk to your doctor to find out what your next steps should be. Doctors call it infertility when you don’t get pregnant after a year of regular sex without using birth control. If you’re a woman over 35, infertility means you don’t get pregnant after 6 months of sex. Infertility doesn’t always mean you’re “sterile” — unable ever to have a child. Half of couples who seek help can eventually have a child, either on their own or with medical help.
Men and women can have a fertility problem. In about 20% of infertile couples, both partners have fertility problems, and in about 15% of couples, no cause is found after all tests have been done. This is called unexplained infertility. Male infertility is as common as female infertility.
What Causes Fertility Problems in Men?
If you’re a guy, the most common reason for infertility is a problem with sperm, including things like:
- Low sperm count, which means you have too few or no sperm in your semen.
- Your sperm don’t move as well as they should, which is called low sperm motility.
- You have abnormally formed sperm.
- Your sperm ducts are blocked.
- Another common problem is a temporary drop in the amount of sperm you make. This might happen when your testicles get injured. For instance, it could be that your testicles were too hot for too long, or you were in contact with chemicals or took drugs that affect the way you make sperm.
- If you drink alcohol or smoke, your sperm count can go down.
- Also, men 40 and older have lower fertility.
Sleeping Can Affect Male Fertility:
Sleeping too little or too much can affect a man’s ability to impregnate his partner, new research suggests.
The “sweet spot” appears to be 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, said study author Lauren Wise, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.
Among the 790 couples the researchers followed, “we found both short and long sleep duration — less than 6 hours or 9 or more per night — were associated with a reduced probability of pregnancy,” Wise said.
Using 8 hours of sleep as the reference point, men who slept less than 6 or more than 9 hours a night “had a 42 percent reduced probability of conception in any given month,” she added.
The main explanation is most likely hormonal, Wise said. Fertility experts know that testosterone is crucial for reproduction and the majority of daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep, she explained. Total sleep time, in turn, has been positively linked with testosterone levels in several studies, she added.
All of the couples in the study were trying to conceive, and they had been trying for no more than six menstrual cycles. The couples answered questions about sleep patterns and whether they had trouble sleeping. Those men who had trouble sleeping more than half the time were also less likely to impregnate their partner than those who didn’t, the researchers found.
While the study found only an association between sleep and fertility, “it can’t prove cause and effect,” Wise said.