It Really Does Take Two to Tango...

Posted on January 04, 2011
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For how many years now have you been led to believe that the only thing men must do before they start having kids is wear boxers instead of briefs?  It was just six years ago now that Colleen and I were trying to conceive for our final time and were having difficulties.  After a few years of early miscarriages after having successfully had our first son Jack, we decided to see a fertility specialist. I had to make a donation and get my boys checked out, and while my reports came back fine, there never was any discussion about things I should be doing to make those boys swim any better.

It turns out there is a decent chance that my doctors didn't even really know what to tell me about that.  For years relatively little research was done in the are of men and conception.  The long-standing belief was that if men's sperm is deteriorated or otherwise impaired, it would be too weak to fertilize an egg.  In a startling article you can read on, Emily Anthes reports that a few researchers have been working on trying to figure out a man's true role, and whether outside influences like tobacco and alcohol consumption, or exposure to pesticides and other toxins, can affect offspring.

Some of the findings include male cancer patients manufacturing damaged sperm for up to two years after their last dose of chemo and women having more miscarriages when their male partners worked in jobs where they were exposed to lead and mercury.  Men exposed to pesticides having a greater chance of having children with leukemia.  Smoking seems to produce sperm with the wrong number of chromosomes.  Even alcohol and caffeine can cause sperm abnormalities.

So for all the men who sit back and watch their female partners try to get all healthy in the months before they start trying to get pregnant, it would be a good idea for you to also cut out your vices and give your child the best chance you can of being born healthy.

Listen to the interview I did with Miller-McCune Editor-In-Chief John Mecklin.

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