Male fertility can be slowed down by numerous factors.The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital shares what the factors are and give advice.
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Environment and lifestyle impact male fertility
Besides the ageing process, a man’s lifestyle can also upset his sperm count and quality. Factors like stress, smoking, drinking and working in high heat environments have been shown to lower sperm count and quality in men, said A/Prof Tan.
Already, he noted that male fertility is falling worldwide, and Singaporean men are not spared. “Normally, in a semen sample of a millilitre, there should be more than 15 million sperm. But in some samples that we see, there may only be one sperm.”
Late to marry, unable to have children?
With the current trend of men and women marrying and having children later in life, is it all doom and gloom for older fathers-to-be?
“Normally, in a semen sample of a millilitre, there should be more than 15 million sperm. But in some samples that we see, there may only be one sperm,” said A/Prof Tan.
Dr Lau does not think so. He said that as long as a man continues to produce sperm and is able to have normal sexual intercourse, there is still a possibility of him fathering a child. A fertile female can also compensate for a lower male childbearing potential. Reproductive technologies like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are also available to help couples who have problems conceiving.
But with the risk of birth issues increasing with advanced paternal age, doctors have advised those who want to become fathers to start planning earlier. A/Prof Tan said, “Men aged 40 and above who are thinking of having children should not delay any longer.”