In Italy, the birth rate is very low and this is due to various social, economic and cultural factors. Many couples who wish to have a child are often at an age where more and more difficulties can be encountered, often linked to a progressive reduction in fertility not only of the female partner.

As Prof. Paolo Emanuele Levi-Setti, Director of the Department and Head of the Fertility Center of Humanitas explains: “There is a close relationship between fertility and lifestyles: perfectly healthy individuals from the reproductive point of view can, as a result of incorrect behavior or simply lack of knowledge of the body’s mechanisms, become infertile”. So let’s see some tips for preserving fertility.


Risk factors

Several factors can contribute to worsening the quality of sperm, for example: advanced age, the habit of wearing very narrow underwear, exposure to high temperatures, as can happen to those who often attend sauna and Turkish baths, or those who keep their mobile phone in the front pocket of the pants or laptop on their legs, being overweight or underweight, the consumption of drugs or other toxic substances, smoking, and constant sleep deprivation.


A healthy lifestyle

In order to safeguard the sperm quality and the overall health of the individual, it is advisable to:

  • Eat correctly, limiting the consumption of processed meat and sweetened or caffeinated drinks.
  • Maintain normal body weight
  • Sleep sufficiently
  • Have protected sexual intercourse in order to avoid the risk of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Constant physical activity
  • Do not smoke
  • Protect testicles from exposure to heat or chemicals


If the problem affects health

In some cases, fertility-related difficulties are due to health problems, such as hypothalamus and pituitary disorders, with consequent repercussions on hormone function, testicular problems affecting the sperm’s ability to reach the uterus, and varicocele.

Fertility is also at risk due to genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, cystic fibrosis and Kartagener syndrome.


When to contact your doctor?

If you encounter difficulties in getting pregnant, it is advisable to consult a specialist. As Professor Levi-Setti recalls: “According to the definition of the World Health Organization, we can begin to talk about infertility of a couple after a year of sexual intercourse without conception. It is clear that this timeframe is merely a general reference, which must be calibrated on a case-by-case basis and which must take into account what has already been said about the importance of age and other factors. However, time is a crucial variable, the sooner one ascertains the existence of a problem, the more likely it is that any treatment will be successful”.