Infertility can be defined as the inability to conceive following 1 year of unprotected intercourse and affects nearly 15 % of all couples trying to conceive.
Approximately one in every 6 couple attempting to have a baby have trouble with the conception. Infertility has long been regarded as a women's issue until the scientific community has established that a male factor is held responsible in roughly half of all cases of infertility.
Infertility is associated with significant physical and mental trauma and imposes serious financial constraints for assessment and treatment of the same. Infact, half of men were more concerned with the financial implications of raising a child than their ability to father one. It has been estimated that about 9% of the UK's 28.5 million men might have difficulty conceiving.
Sperm quality and number have declined in the last 30 years. This finding becomes very valuable because of the agreement that a healthier generation begins with healthy gametes, the sperm and egg.
Among the various factors that can account for the infertility issue, smoking and alcohol consumption occupy priority. Nearly half (44%) said smoking was the overwhelming main contributing factor to low male fertility. One in 10 (11%) blamed alcohol and 7% blamed stress.
GP Ann Robinson said: "The results of this survey are shocking and should be a wake-up call to men and women that drinking and smoking too much not only gives you a bad headache in the morning but can affect your ability to start a family."
With the next generation facing increasing pressure as a result of declining fertility and mortality rates, it's only fair that men accept their responsibility in the equation and change their lifestyles now before it's too late. Simple steps such as giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol should be encouraged not only for a successful conception but also because it has a detrimental impact on the nation's population and progress.