Give up the cannabis if you want a baby

120px-Cannabis_sativa00New research from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester has found that there is a clear link between sperm quality and cannabis use in younger men – the results were marked in those under the age of thirty, possibly because younger men tend to use cannabis more frequently and at higher doses.

It’s important to be aware that cannabis doesn’t instantly disappear from your system the moment you stop using it, and that sperm production takes around three months – so if you want to improve your chances of having a baby and you are a male dope smoker, it may take a while to see an improvement if you give up.

Interestingly, this new study – which analysed results from more than 2,000 men in 14 fertility clinics – didn’t find any associations between smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or wearing tight underpants and sperm morphology (the size and shape of the sperm) – but it is possible that these could affect sperm in other ways.  There was evidence that exposure to paint strippers had an impact on sperm quality.

The other interesting finding was that samples produced during the summer months (June, July and August) were more likely to have problems than those given during the rest of the year.

Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, who was one of the authors of the report said: “Our knowledge of factors that influence sperm size and shape is very limited, yet faced with a diagnosis of poor sperm morphology, many men are concerned to try and identify any factors in their lifestyle that could be causing this.

“It is therefore reassuring to find that there are very few identifiable risks, although our data suggests that cannabis users might be advised to stop using the drug if they are planning to try and start a family.”

You can read more about the research on the University of Sheffield website here 

Is watching too much TV stopping you becoming a parent?

Could the amount of TV you watch be affecting your sperm count?  A new study from the US has investigated whether the amount of time young, healthy men spent sitting in front of the television had an impact on their fertility – and concluded that it did…

Nearly two hundred men who were between the ages of 18 and 22 were studied, and researchers logged the amount of time they spent watching TV, videos or DVDs and how much physical activity they did over a three month period.  They found that both the concentration of sperm and the sperm count were directly related to their lifestyles – the men who did the most physical activity had the best results, while the men who watched the most TV came out at the bottom when it came to their sperm concentration and count.  The results found that exercise didn’t make a different to the way the sperm moved about (their motility) or increase the numbers of abnormal sperm (their motility) – but this is still a fascinating result, and enough to get anyone off their sofas and out to the gym.

You can find more details about the research, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, here.