A study has shown that the impact of tight underwear on male fertility is worse than that of drinking, taking drugs and smoking.
Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester found little difference between the quality of sperm of smokers and non-smokers in their study of over 2000 men.
When observing the lifestyles of the men on trial, scientists also found that a high BMI, heavy alcohol consumption and recreational drug use did not affect sperm quality drastically either.
However, one factor that was really seen to affect fertility in the men tested was the tightness of their underwear. Men who sported loose boxer shorts were found to have a higher-quality sperm when compared to men who chose to wear tight briefs.
The scientists involved in the study were very careful to highlight that although the impact of smoking, drinking and being overweight upon sperm may not be as great as previously thought, these lifestyle choices are still hugely important for wider health issues.
‘This potentially overturns much of the current advice given to men about how they might improve their fertility and suggests that many common lifestyle risks may not be as important as we previously thought,’ said Dr Andrew Povey of The University of Manchester.
Dr Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield concluded: ‘In spite of our results, it's important that men continue to follow sensible health advice and watch their weight, stop smoking and drink alcohol within sensible limits. But there is no need for them to become monks just because they want to be a dad.
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‘Although if they are a fan of tight Y-fronts, then switching underpants to something a bit looser for a few months might be a good idea.’