Male fertility, or lack thereof, affects around half of all infertile couples in Australia.
The most common causes being diet and lifestyle factors, problems with sperm production, movement or shape, sperm antibodies, chromosome and DNA abnormalities, hormonal problems or erectile and ejaculation difficulties. Fortunately, most causes are readily diagnosed and the majority can be overcome to help a couple conceive.
There are a number of ways that men can improve the quality of their sperm to increase their fertility and achieve a successful pregnancy with their partner and the simplest one doesn’t cost a cent, in fact, it saves you money!
Results from a 2018 Harvard School of Public Health study found that men who wore boxer shorts had a 25% higher sperm concentration and count, as well as lower FSH levels, then males with a preference for tighter fitting underwear.
FSH you ask? Both male and female bodies use Follicle-stimulating hormone to conceive. Women use FSH to mature the ovarian follicles that release the eggs and men use it to support the growth and development of sperm. If a man’s FSH levels are high, it can mean the testicles are not functioning properly, negatively affecting his fertility.
Ultimately, the study centred around temperature and the effect it has on sperm production above 34 degrees. The higher the scrotal temperature, the poorer the testicular function. Now it doesn’t take a genius to work out which types of underwear cup the balls more than others.
The study which accounted for 656 men found that cooler temperatures around the testicles boosted sperm production.
Turns out the loose and airy fit provided by boxers is more conducive to sperm (and sweat!) production. Figures from the study reveal a 17% increase in total sperm count alongside 33% more swimmers when comparing fans of boxers to tighter-fitting underwear, over three months of wear.
“Since men can modify the type of underwear they choose to wear, these results may be useful to improve men’s testicular function,” says the study’s lead researcher, Dr Lidia Minguez-Alarcon.
With the life cycle of sperm being 72 days, changing your underwear, or dropping them entirely, won’t boost your fertility overnight but it’s certainly an easier goal than the summer six pack.
We’ve also come to learn that heating of the testes was suggested as a potential contraceptive method for blokes as early as 1959! Not sure we’re just finding out about this now.
You can check out the details of the study here.