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13 June 2012
Couples trying to conceive are advised that heavy drinking, regular smoking and being overweight will reduce the male partner’s sperm quality, but a new study suggests this may not be the case.
Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester who compared the lifestyles of 939 men with poor sperm quality with 1,310 men with normal sperm quality found little difference between the number of mobile sperm from patients who never smoked and those who had a 20-a-day habit.
They also found "little evidence" that using drugs, drinking too much or having a high BMI count affected sperm quality.
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Dr Andrew Povey, from the University of Manchester, said that these findings meant that delaying fertility treatment so that couples could alter their lifestyles was unlikely to improve their chances of conception, and might actually cause problems for couples with little time left to lose.
However, experts have pointed out that the lifestyle advice was still important for men’s general health.
Dr Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield said: "In spite of our results, it's important that men continue to follow sensible health advice and watch their weight, stop smoking and drink alcohol within sensible limits.”
The study did find that men who wore looser fitting underwear had a higher sperm quality. Dr Pacey added: "If they are a fan of tight Y-fronts, then switching underpants to something a bit looser for a few months might be a good idea."
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is reviewing the evidence from the study, and the recommendations given the patients by the NHS will remain the same until the updated guidelines are published later this year.
>>Fertility treatments explained>>Infertility: Know your options if you’re struggling to get pregnant
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Sperm may not be affected by drinking and smoking, say experts
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04 September 2012 13:40
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