Are pollutants causing a male fertility crisis?

Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test

Following on from an international study published at the end of last year that demonstrated declining sperm counts are accelerating, new research has pinpointed that air pollution can significantly damage sperm quality.

A meta-analysis of nearly 27,00 studies identified factors such as air pollution, pesticide exposure, and chemical pollutants as causing increased sperm DNA fragmentation. The research was published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, and the studies they reviewed included data from men exposed to high levels of workplace pollution and those living in areas with high environmental pollution levels.

Standard male fertility tests check the number, motility and shape of the sperm. A further diagnostic assessment we offer at Aria Fertility is the sperm DNA fragmentation test. This provides more in-depth knowledge about sperm quality.

Sperm DNA fragmentation are breaks in the DNA strands that are contained within the sperm, and this can affect the ability to conceive and has been linked to a higher incidence of miscarriage. This is usually caused by oxidative stress and, as well as pollution, the study also identified several lifestyle factors that had a significant impact. Here are 5 common lifestyle factors that could affect male fertility.

Lifestyle factors and male infertility

1. Smoking

Nicotine addiction might be one of the most important lifestyle factors affecting fertility. Numerous studies have found smoking is associated with decreased sperm count, reduced sperm motility, and poor sperm morphology, which is how sperm are shaped, and in this most recent study, researchers demonstrated that smoking could increase DNA fragmentation by an average of 9.19 per cent compared to non-smokers.

2. Alcohol

How much is too much? Many studies have investigated the effect of excessive alcohol consumption and fertility and found that it impacts both male reproductive hormone production and the quality of your semen. One Danish study found that for men who consumed 40 units or more of alcohol per week, their sperm count was approximately 33% lower than those who drank between one and five units per week.

3 & 4. Your weight & diet

These two often go hand in hand. Generally speaking, men and women with a higher BMI are more likely to have lower fertility. Although it is not possible to say that losing weight will definitely improve your chance of conceiving, adopting healthy eating when trying for a baby is a sensible step. A healthy and varied diet, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, is essential for good sperm health.

5. Reduce your exposure to BPAs

Although it might not be possible to avoid the impact of environmental pollutants, particularly if you’re living in a large city, you can take steps to reduce your personal exposure to BPAs.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common chemicals we’re exposed to in everyday life, as it’s used in everything from food and drink containers to dental fillings. Try to avoid canned food, use BPA-free plastic storage, eat fresh produce, cook from scratch, and use glass water bottles and reusable coffee mugs.

Call +44 (0) 203 263 6025 or email to arrange a male fertility health check, including a sperm DNA fragmentation test, at Aria Fertility.