Sperm counts falling worldwide – doctor
According to Dr Shaun Wynter, consultant gynaecologist, the majority of patients who visit the Hugh Wyter Fertility Management unit with fertility problems are men.
"More than 50 per cent of the treatment for the patients is for male-factor infertility, just under 52 per cent," he said.
Wynter said that men all over the world are facing a decrease in sperm count and that there are various reasons for this.
"Things such as smoking and drinking alcohol affect the count. But something physical, like some kind of trauma, or infection can cause it, too. And there is also a group of men whose testes just don't produce much at all," he said.
He added that pollutants in the environment can also affect sperm count.
He is warning men who smoke marijuana of the effect this may have on their sperm.
"It doesn't affect the number of sperm, but it affects how they move. Depending on how much you smoke and for how long, it may affect the movement of the sperm. Their function is to swim up into the genital track to meet the egg to penetrate it, so if they are not moving, they won't get there," he said
He said his facility provides in-vitro fertlisation (IVF) treatment for men with a low sperm count.
"In the IVF lab, [we] put that sperm straight to the egg; [we] inject one sperm directly into the egg. The man doesn't have to have a normal count, he only has to have a few good sperm, literally a few," he said. "You don't need millions of sperm because only five to 15 per cent of the sperm are perfectly normal, and most of them won't make it."
In the meantime, Wynter said men should practise a healthy lifestyle to improve or maintain their sperm count.
"There's no food that directly affects sperm count. But men should avoid the things that they can avoid, [like] smoking, alcohol, and an STD (sexually transmitted disease) that can affect their sperm count," he said.