Fertility problems don’t just affect women. About 30 percent of infertility cases result in male treatment while another 30 percent result in treatment for both partners. Women’s fertility is affected by many health and environmental factors, but recent research suggests that most risk factors that threaten male fertility result from the environment.
Common environmental causes of infertility include exposure to chemicals, radiation and pollution. Drug use also plays a role.
Much of the chemical exposure that affects fertility happens in the workplace. Chemicals that have been linked to male fertility problems include lead, mercury, ethylene oxide, cadmium and vinyl chloride. Additionally, exposure to radioactivity and excessive x-rays has been linked to infertility.
Outside the workplace, cigarette and marijuana smoke are risk factors, as is excessive alcohol consumption. Prescription drugs, especially those that treat ulcers and psoriasis, can pose a risk to fertility. Hot baths, steam rooms, or other exposure of the genitals to high temperatures is also a risk factor.
There are several medical risks to male fertility. They include hernia repair, suffering from mumps after puberty, and undescended testicles. Prostatitis and genital infections can also cause fertility problems.