Lots of women I know who struggle with infertility complain that while they’re busy getting poked and prodded, their men simply need to come in a jar. “He’s bitching about having to wake up early to have an orgasm, and I’m booking time off work to have foreign objects inserted in my vagina,” is how one friend put it. Ah, good times. She probably won’t be too happy to hear the latest study results, which is that smoking, drinking and obesity do not affect sperm count (but wearing tighty whities actually does).
Scientists from Manchester and Sheffield universities claim that a man’s lifestyle choice does not affect his chance of becoming a father – contrary to what we’ve been told in the past. Most couples I know start living clean once they decide to start a family, or at least once they realize it’s not happening on the first few tries. For example, they’ll cut down on drinking and stop smoking weed; some will join Weight Watchers or start hitting the gym. Turns out it’s for nothing – at least as far as sperm count is concerned (we’ll get to general health later).
The study looked at more than 2,200 men from 14 fertility clinics around the UK. Researchers compared information from men who produced low numbers of swimming sperm to those who produced high numbers. Surprisingly, they found that a man’s use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs – as well has his weight – had little effect on sperm quality.
“This potentially overturns much of the current advice given to men about how they might improve their fertility and suggests that many common lifestyle risks may not be as important as we previously thought,” said study researcher Dr. Andrew Povey. (That said, the study didn’t look at whether smoking, drinking and obesity affect other aspects of male fertility such as size and shape of sperm.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean that guys should feel free to whoop it up like never before. First of all, it’s kind of rude to party your ass off while your partner sips Perrier, don’t you think? (Plus, we all know that second-hand smoke is a giant fail.) Second, good health should be important no matter what stage of life you’re at, which means keeping your weight in check and not smoking or drinking excessively. And, finally, this latest study is just one of many; it actually contradicts a lot of other research out there, which means it shouldn’t be taken as the be all and end all when it comes to health and sperm count.
Oh, and one last point: Nobody is all that turned on by overweight partiers.
(Photo: Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock)